Country/Territory Fiji
Area 18,000 km2
Altitude 0 - 1300m
Priority critical
Habitat loss major
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

Included in this EBA are all the Republic of Fiji's islands apart from Rotuma (isolated to the north) which is treated as a Secondary Area (s127). The archipelago comprises high volcanic islands (reaching 1,324 m at Mt Tomanivi on Viti Levu), as well as atolls and raised coral limestone islands.

On the southern and eastern sides of the larger islands, the native vegetation is lowland and montane rain forest, with cloud forest at highest altitudes; on the northern and western sides (which are in the rain shadow), dry forest and open woodland (now largely replaced by fire-climax grassland) formerly occurred at lower elevations. Forest also occurs on some of the smaller islands, though many have been cleared, and mangroves are found to varying extents along many coasts. Cyclones and landslides occur regularly in Fiji and have moulded forests in such a way that secondary associations are a widespread and integral part of the ecosystems (Collins et al. 1991).

Restricted-range species

This EBA ranks third for numbers of restricted-range bird species in the Pacific. All the restricted-range species occur in forest and some occur in man-modified habitats. There are few altitudinal limitations to the distribution of the restricted-range birds and, in most cases, any apparent such restriction relates to availability of remaining suitable habitat (D. Watling in litt. 1993).

Many species are widely distributed through the islands, but two are confined to Vanua Levu and Taveuni, three to Viti Levu and four to Kadavu. Mayrornis versicolor is restricted to Ogea in the Lau archipelago, occurring on the two principal islands-Ogealevu (13 km2) and Ogeadriki (5 km2)-and on the smaller nearby Dakuiyanuya. Several of the more-widespread restricted-range species are shared with the Samoan Islands (EBA 203) and/or other Central Polynesian Secondary Areas (s127-s131), and a few occur to the west in Vanuatu (EBA 200).

The taxonomic treatment of the three Prosopeia parrots, splendens, personata and tabuensis, followed here is that of Rinke (1989) and Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), although Holyoak and Thibault (in prep.) do not accept Rinke's novel arrangement and follow the classification of Amadon (1942), as did Forshaw (1989), and recognize only two species, P. personata and P. tabuensis (the latter having five subspecies, including splendens).

In addition to the restricted-range land birds, one seabird, Fiji Petrel Pterodroma macgillivrayi, is known only from Gau, where the number of recent observations has risen to eight, but where the breeding grounds, presumed to be in forest, have still to be located (Watling 1986, Watling and Gillison 1993).

Species IUCN Category
Shy Ground-dove (Pampusana stairi) VU
Barking Imperial-pigeon (Ducula latrans) LC
Orange Dove (Chrysoena victor) LC
Golden Dove (Chrysoena luteovirens) LC
Whistling Dove (Chrysoena viridis) NT
Many-coloured Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus perousii) LC
(Ptilinopus porphyraceus) NR
Bar-winged Rail (Hypotaenidia poeciloptera) EX
Fiji Goshawk (Accipiter rufitorques) LC
Crimson Shining-parrot (Prosopeia splendens) VU
Masked Shining-parrot (Prosopeia personata) NT
Maroon Shining-parrot (Prosopeia tabuensis) LC
Red-throated Lorikeet (Charmosyna amabilis) CR
Blue-crowned Lorikeet (Vini australis) LC
Collared Lory (Phigys solitarius) LC
Kadavu Honeyeater (Meliphacator provocator) LC
(Gymnomyza viridis) NR
(Foulehaio carunculatus) NR
Orange-breasted Myzomela (Myzomela jugularis) LC
Polynesian Triller (Lalage maculosa) LC
Fiji Woodswallow (Artamus mentalis) LC
(Lamprolia victoriae) NR
Kadavu Fantail (Rhipidura personata) NT
(Rhipidura verreauxi) NR
Vanikoro Flycatcher (Myiagra vanikorensis) LC
(Myiagra azureocapilla) NR
Ogea Monarch (Mayrornis versicolor) NT
Slaty Monarch (Mayrornis lessoni) LC
Fiji Shrikebill (Clytorhynchus vitiensis) LC
(Clytorhynchus nigrogularis) NR
Long-legged Thicketbird (Cincloramphus rufus) EN
Fiji Bush-warbler (Horornis ruficapilla) LC
Fiji White-eye (Zosterops explorator) LC
Polynesian Starling (Aplonis tabuensis) LC
Fiji Parrotfinch (Erythrura pealii) LC
Pink-billed Parrotfinch (Erythrura kleinschmidti) VU

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
FJ02 Wailevu/Dreketi Highlands Fiji
FJ03 Natewa/Tunuloa Peninsula Fiji
FJ04 Taveuni Highlands Fiji
FJ06 Koroyanitu / Vaturu Fiji
FJ07 Greater Tomaniivi Fiji
FJ08 Rairaimatuku Highlands Fiji
FJ09 Sovi Basin Fiji
FJ10 Viti Levu Southern Highlands Fiji
FJ11 Gau Highlands Fiji
FJ12 Nabukelevu Fiji
FJ13 East Kadavu Fiji
FJ14 Ogea Fiji

Threat and conservation

Natural forests of varying quality today cover c.44% of the land area of Fiji with a further 7% covered by softwood and hardwood plantations (D. Watling in litt. 1995). On most islands nearly all accessible forest has either been logged or is committed to logging concessions (A. Lees in litt. 1993), and Taveuni is the only island with extensive relatively undisturbed forest.

The loss of native forest will have undoubtedly affected populations of the restricted-range species and several are classified as threatened or Near Threatened. An example is Lamprolia victoriae, which, although still common in forest on Taveuni (nominate victoriae), is very rare on Vanua Levu (race kleinschmidti) where it is restricted to the already heavily logged and unprotected Natewa peninsula. The survival of the majority, if not all, of the restricted-range species will depend on the existence of areas of native forest large enough and sufficiently well distributed to negate the localized destruction caused by regular cyclones (D. Watling in litt. 1993).

It is likely that predation by introduced mammals (rats, cats and mongooses Herpestes auropunctatus) caused the demise of Nesoclopeus poecilopterus, which is believed to have been flightless (excepting an unconfirmed 1973 record, the species is not known from the twentieth century and is thought extinct). Predation by feral cats is also a potential threat to Pterodroma macgillivrayi (see 'Restricted-range species', above), which is classified as Critical, and to the threatened (Vulnerable) migratory Bristle-thighed Curlew Numenius tahitiensis, a restricted range species (see Secondary Area s002) which winters in this EBA and undergoes a flightless moult.

Habitat does remain for Trichocichla rufa, Erythrura kleinschmidti and Charmosyna amabilis, and the cause of their apparent scarcity in it is unclear, although predation may be a contributory factor. However, few observers have sought these species, and the true status of T. rufa, which is very skulking with an undescribed song, is more likely to be Data Deficient (D. T. Holyoak in litt. 1996).

The threatened status of Mayrornis versicolor reflects its tiny range in the Lau archipelago, for it will always remain susceptible to chance catastrophes-though there are no indications that it, or the forests, have been greatly affected by recent cyclones (Watling 1988a).

The state of the environment of Fiji is described in Watling and Chape (1992), which includes a preliminary register of 140 'natural' sites of national significance. At present there are a few small, forested protected areas in this EBA and there are also designated watershed 'protection forests' (about a third of the remaining forest area), but these latter have no legal status and are not inviolate from logging (Watling 1988b), so may not have great conservation value.

A representative national parks and reserves system for Fiji's tropical forests is proposed in Lees (1989) and includes a reserve on Vanua Levu (specifically for Lamprolia victoriae) and one on Viti Levu (the Sovi basin) which would protect Fiji's largest remaining area of undisturbed lowland forest (see Cabaniuk et al. 1995). There is a commitment within Fiji to establish protected areas, and attention is now being focused on the best way of achieving their conservation within the framework of customary land ownership (A. Lees in litt. 1993, 1996).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Fiji. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/03/2023.