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Birding and Wildlife

Birding and Wildlife

Birding on St Helena

On land and by sea, the sights and sounds of the birdlife of St Helena are certain to delight. Inextricably wrapped up in the island’s history, the story of St Helena’s birdlife – a legacy of colonisation of the island by man and the animals he introduced, that brought about extinctions and rarity – is fast becoming one of conservation success and recovery.Take time to explore the island to observe the rare and reclusive native Moorhen, or the variety of naturalised songbirds and be prepared to be ‘visited’ by inquisitive Fairy (White) Terns.Observe the colonies of Noddies, Boobies, Petrels and Terns on the island’s offshore stacks by boat or take a coastal walk to observe the remarkable conservation success story unfolding on the coastal cliffs where populations of Masked Boobies and Red-billed Tropicbirds are re-establishing themselves in ever increasing numbers on the mainland.

Masked Booby AdultRed Fody (Foudia madagascariensis) 01

Wildlife on St Helena

St Helena has an incredible range of wildlife; the isolation of the island means that it is home to many unique species that are found nowhere else in the world. A staggering 455 species of invertebrates are found on the island and include the Blushing Snail, the Spiky Woodlouse,the Vulturine and Golden Leafhopper and Janich’s Fungus Weevil. St Helena also boasts a near perfect bee population. The Blushing Snail (Succinea sanctaehelenae) is found throughout the island as it eats algae that grow on plant leaves; it can often be seen on New Zealand Flax.

Golden Sail SpiderSpiky Yellow woodlouse on treefern

St Helena Endemic Bird

The endemic Wirebird (St Helena Plover) is a source ofnational pride and a tour to observe its behaviour in the wild is not to be missed.It is the last surviving endemic land bird on St Helena. The Wirebird is featured on St Helena’s coat of arms as well as that of the airport and is held in great affection by island residents. It is closely related to the Kittlitz’s Sand Plover (C. pecarius) of Africa.There are between 450 and 500 adult Wirebirds on St Helena at present. This makes the species a very rare bird in global terms. St Helena’s Wirebird population occurs in both semi-desert areas and the drier pasturelands between 820 and 1,970 ft(250 and 600m) above ground level. The majority of Wirebirdsare now found on grassland, which provides a more abundant food supply. Male and female Wirebirds are virtually identical in appearance. They form pair bonds that may last for severalseasons. Nesting occurs throughout the year but most eggs are laid between October and March.

wirebird - credit Christina StroudWirebird-St-Helena-Tourism

 For more information on Birding/wildlife tours, please contact the Tourist Office on (00290) 22158 or email and we will be happy to assist you.


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