Palau, December 22, 94 - Januari 4, 95

The Christmas holidays of 1994 I have spent with Vincent van Oostrom at the archipelago of Palau, located in the Pacific Ocean, roughly halfway on the line Japan Australia. The Palau islands are at the westernmost edge of Micronesia. It is a wonderful place to visit.
In our case the trip was a last minute decision, so we were badly prepared. Moreoever it was my first experience in the tropics. Luckely I could buy the useful local field guide in the museum of Natural history at Koror.
According to this field guide, the total avifauna consists of about 141 species of which 91 are migratory. The six endemic are:
  • Palau ground dove Gallicolumba caniforns
  • Palau owl Pyrroglaux podargina
  • Palau bush-warbler Cetti annae
  • Palau flycatcher Myiagar erythrops
  • Palau fantail Rhipidura lepida
  • Palau morning bird Colluricincla tenebrosa
  • In addition to species listed in the Field guide I believe to have seen a Black Kite at Angaur.
    Birds are perhaps not the main thing. The reefs and the seas around the islands abound with fish. The numbers of different species and all their colors are beyond imagination. Weather was good, only two rainy days. Temperature close to 30 degrees Celsius.
    It might be useful to bring some protection against the rather insistent myusquitos of Angaur as well as (at least) snorkel gear.


  • Field guide to the birds of Palau (John Engbring and Takesi Suzuki, Conservation Office and Bureau of Education, Koror, Palau, 1988)
  • Effective is also the combination of the Field guides to the Birds of South-East Asia and the Birds of Hawai.
  • Links

  • Homepage of Palau Visitors Authority
  • Online detailed maps of Palau from The Perry-CastaƱeda Library Map Collection of the University of Texas.
  • An American impression of Palau from Christmas 96: quote about the Koror-Babeldaob bridge we used rather anxiously in 94:
             [Palau is also very small. A single 
             road connects the four islands
             that host most of the country's 
             17,000 people. Between three of
             the islands there are raised concrete 
             causeways; the largest island,
             Babeldaob, connects to Koror, 
             the capital, by a bridge. Until
             recently at least. In September 
             the bridge -- a concrete span 30
             feet wide by some 300 feet long -- 
             fell into the channel, so there
             is now a ferry service. When I 
             asked a local woman what had
             happened to it she said, "It collapse." 
             "Earthquake?" I asked. 
             "No. Just collapse." She said it 
             as though these things just
             happen sometimes.] 
    Current situation:
    RELEASE: September 11, 1997 Almost one year following the collapse of the transportation artery connecting our two main islands of Koror and Babeldaob, we are happy to announce that the last impediment to restoration of full infrastructural services has been removed. On Aug. 3., a pontoon-type bridge built by Daiho Corp. was opened up to traffic. On Sept. 26 last year, the 790-foot Koror-Babeldaob Bridge crashed into the sea, severing Koror from its sources of water and power and the Palau International Airport. Since then, submarine water and power connections have been laid and, until Aug. 3 opening of the bridge, a ferry system installed for service to the airport and the island of Babeldaob.
  • Outline of the trip

    Dec 22 - Dec 27 Koror (one day to Rock Islands)
    Dec 27 - Dec 29 Anguar
    Dec 29 - Dec 31 Peleliu
    Dec 31 - Jan 4 Koror (one day to Rock Islands)(one day to Babeldaob)


    We stayed at D.W. Motel on Koror, Wenty's inn at Peleliu and a bungalow of Leon Gulibert at Angaur. Sam's dive tours had a friendly nature loving guide.

    Observed bird species

    1. White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus [Dudek] Peleliu.
    2. Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos [Deroech] Peleliu.
    3. Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis [Cheloteachel]
    4. Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra [Sechou] Peleliu and Angaur.
    5. Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia [Sechou] Pelelui, Angaur and Koror.
    6. Little Egret Egretta garzetta [Sechou] Koror.
    7. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis [Keremlal sechou] Peleliu and Angaur.
    8. Rufous Night-heron Nycticorax caledonicus [Melabaob] Pelelui and Babeldaob.
    9. Black kite Milvus migrans Angaur, above the lagoon in the SW of the island. This species does not occur in the Checklist. I could see the slightly indented tail of the dark, kite like bird.
    10. Micronesian Megapode Megapodius laperouse [Bekai] Peleliu and Angaur.
    11. Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus [Malkureomel] Peleliu and Angaur.
    12. Banded rail Rallus philippensis [Terriid] Peleliu and Angaur.
    13. Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus [Debar] Angaur.
    14. Lesser Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica [Derariik] Peleliu and Angaur.
    15. Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola Koror.
    16. Gray-tailed Tatler Heteroscelus brevipes Koror.
    17. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos [Bengobaingukl]
    18. Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus [Okak]
    19. Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres Peleliu.
    20. Rufous-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis Peleliu. More than 800 on the reef behind Wenty's Inn in the morning of Dec 31, 94 during high tide.
    21. Common Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
    22. Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii [Roall]
    23. Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana [Kerkirs] Angaur.
    24. Gray-backed Tern Sterna lunata [Kerkirs] Babeldaob and the Rock Islands.
    25. Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus [Bedebedechakl]
    26. Brown Noddy Anous stolidus [Mechadelbedaoch] Angaur.
    27. Black Noddy Anous minutus [Bedaoch] Angaur.
    28. White Tern Gygis alba [Sechocech] Angaur and Peleliu.
    29. Palau Fruit-dove Ptilinopus pelewensis [Biib] Koror, Angaur and Peleliu.
    30. Micronesian Pigeon Ducula oceanica [Belochel]
    31. Vanikoro Swiftlet Aerodramus vanikorensis [Chesisekiaid] Peleliu.
    32. Collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris [Tengadidik] Angaur and Peleliu.
    33. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica [Tsubame] Angaur.
    34. Asian House-martin Delichon dasypus [Tsubame] Angaur. Note, although I feel certain this determination, I have no experience with White-breasted Wood-swallow.
    35. Palau Bush Warbler Cettia annae [Wuul or Chesisebarsech] Angaur and Peleliu.
    36. Palau Flycatcher Myiagra erythrops [Charmelachull] Peleliu.
    37. Palau Fantail Rhipidura lepida [Melimdelebteb or Chesisirech] Peleliu.
    38. Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava [] Peleliu.
    39. Micronesian Starling Apionis opaca [Kiuid] Angaur and Peleliu.
    40. Cardinal Honeyeater Myzomela cardinalis [Chesisebangiau] Angaur and Peleliu.
    41. Palau Greater White-eye Megazosterops palauensis [Charmbedel] Peleliu.
    42. Chestnut Mannikin Lonchura malacca [Kanaria] Angaur and Peleliu. Supposed descendants of escapees.

    Last modified: September 17, 1998.
    Fer-Jan de Vries,
    Back to Birds in Japan and Asia