Birding Tour Vanuatu: Pacific Islands Extension


THIS EXCITING TOUR IS AN EXTENSION TO OUR NEW CALEDONIA: KAGU AND OTHER ENDEMICS TOUR.

Dates and Costs

 

08-11 August 2025

Price: US$3,750 / £2,105 / €2,497 per person sharing based on 4-8 participants.

Single Supplement: US$330 / £268 / €318

 

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when finalising payments.

 

07-10 August 2026

Price: US$2,850 / £2,316 / €2,747 per person sharing based on 4-8 participants.

Single Supplement: US$365 / £297 / €352


Recommended Field Guide

(Please also read our blogs about recommended field guides for the seven continents here)


Tour Details

Duration: 4 days
Group Size: 4 – 8
Tour Start: Santo-Pekoa International Airport, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
Tour End: Bauerfield International Airport, Efate, Vanuatu


Price includes:

Expert tour leader and local guides

Meals (from dinner on Day 1 until lunch on Day 4)
Accommodation based on two sharing (Day 1 to Day 3 as shown)

Domestic flight between Espiritu Santo and Efate

All entrance fees to national parks, nature reserves, etc.
All land-based transport and tolls while on tour

Airport and hotel transfers

Price excludes:

International flights to Santo-Pekoa International Airport, Espiritu Santo at the start of the tour
International flights from Bauerfield International Airport, Efate at the end of the tour
Accommodation between the Vanuatu and New Caledonian tours
Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts, laundry, internet access, phone calls, etc.
Alcoholic drinks
Personal insurance
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)

Download Itinerary

Birding Tour Vanuatu: Pacific Islands Extension
August 2025/2026

 

This short, small-group tour visits Vanuatu, an often-overlooked destination for travelers and birders alike, yet the island nation is a tropical paradise of pristine beaches, untouched reefs, lush rainforest, and some rarely seen, stunning bird species. During this tour we spend time on two of the largest islands, first on the remote Espiritu Santo, then on Efate, where the capital city Port Vila is located, in our quest for bird species endemic to Vanuatu and Melanesia. Our Vanuatu tour is an extension to our New Caledonia: Kagu and Other Endemics tour, where we target one of the world’s most iconic birds, the Kagu, amongst other exciting endemics.

Vanuatu birding toursThe stunning Cardinal Myzomela can be seen while birding on Espiritu Santo.

 

First, we explore the remote and enchanting island of Espiritu Santo, an island steeped in history and unique culture, and where all of Vanuatu’s endemic bird species have been recorded. During our time in this paradise, we visit rainforest, coastal wetlands, hill forest and abandoned WWII airfields in search of Vanuatu Megapode, Vanuatu Kingfisher, Buff-bellied Monarch, Tanna Fruit Dove, Vanuatu White-eye, Vanuatu Streaked Fantail, and Cardinal Myzomela among many other highlights. On Efate, the economic hub of Vanuatu, we will encounter a captivating blend of vibrant Ni-Vanuatu culture, and beautiful landscapes. Here we continue targeting the special birds of the region, which include Melanesian Whistler, Red-bellied Fruit Dove, Satin Swiftlet, and Grey-eared Honeyeater. For the fit and adventurous amongst you we can arrange a pre-tour extension to target some of the more difficult montane endemics, such as the ultra-rare Mountain Starling and Santo Thicketbird.

Vanuatu birding toursGrey-eared Honeyeater is a common bird on Efate.

 

Vanuatu promises an unforgettable experience, offering picturesque landscapes, interesting culture, exciting local cuisine, and rarely-seen endemic birds. Amid birding there will be opportunity to relax and enjoy the beaches, reefs, and island charm. For a more comprehensive exploration of the south-west Pacific, consider joining our Fiji and Samoa: Pacific Birding Adventure which follows the New Caledonia tour.

 

Itinerary (4 days / 3 nights)

 

Day 1. Arrival in Espiritu Santo

On arrival at Santo-Pekoa International Airport on Espiritu Santo you will be met by your guides and taken the short distance to our beautiful accommodation which we use as our base for our short, but exciting, tour. Here the group will have the chance to meet over dinner, discuss the tour, our targets, and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

Overnight: Beachfront Resort

Vanuatu birding toursSouthern Shrikebill is an active forager which can show well at times!

 

Day 2. Birding the Loru Protected Area

With an early start we depart for the Loru Protected Area, a site which holds all of Vanuatu’s lowland endemic bird species. The site serves as an excellent example of the vital role local indigenous communities play in bird conservation. Throughout time, these communities have protected and preserved the area, leaving it wonderfully untouched and today it is one of the best areas of lowland forest in Vanuatu. Here, within the coastal forests we will seek five of Vanuatu’s endemic bird species – the gorgeous Tanna Fruit Dove and Vanuatu Kingfisher, energetic Buff-bellied Monarch, Vanuatu White-eye, and perhaps our most-wanted target is the rare and elusive Vanuatu Megapode, one of Vanuatu’s most iconic birds. With a full day exploring the lowland forests of the Loru Protected Area we expect to encounter many species endemic to Melanesia, such as Vanuatu Streaked Fantail, Melanesian Whistler, Spot-breasted Cuckoo-Dove, Southern Shrikebill, South Melanesian Cuckooshrike, Melanesian Flycatcher, and stunning Cardinal Myzomela. We will keep an eye out for the recently split Vanikoro Island Thrush from the Island Thrush complex which occurs across Vanuatu, though will need some luck to locate this new species as it is rare and elusive. We will arrive back to our accomodation in good time to enjoy the tranquility of our resort.

Overnight: Beachfront Resort

Vanuatu birding tours The near endemic Melanesian Flycatcher adds a splash of color to the forests.

 

Day 3. Birding across Espiritu Santo

Today our itinerary is flexible, depending on the success of the previous day. If we missed any of the lowland endemics at Loru we will likely return, as Vanuatu Megapode can be tricky and may require a repeat visit to get this star species. Alternatively, we may decide to venture into the heart of Espiritu Santo, driving along less well-used roads to access higher elevation. Here, we stand a chance of encountering some of Vanuatu’s rarer and seldom-seen endemics, such as Vanuatu Imperial Pigeon and White-bellied Honeyeater. These are species of higher elevation forests, which are hard to access on Espiritu Santo, often requiring a multi-day hiking expedition, yet both species occur at lower altitudes. In addition, the ultra-rare Rusty-winged Starling, Palm Lorikeet and Royal Parrotfinch have been seen in these forests, and while we would be lucky to encounter these species, we will certainly be on the lookout. Aside from these exciting species, we hope to encounter Tanna Fruit Dove, Vanuatu Kingfisher, Metallic Pigeon, Pacific Imperial Pigeon, Polynesian Triller, Long-tailed Triller, Southern Shrikebill, Vanuatu Streaked Fantail, and more.

In the afternoon we will visit Milai plantation, a wetland site in the south of the island. This is the best site on Espiritu Santo for waterbirds, and we will enjoy birding in a lovely setting, targeting Hardhead, White-rumped Swiftlet, Uniform Swiftlet, Australasian Grebe, Little Pied Cormorant, White-faced Heron, Swamp Harrier, Pacific Kingfisher, Coconut Lorikeet, Fan-tailed Gerygone, Long-tailed Triller, and Pacific Swallow amongst others. Between birding there will be time for relaxing by the beach, swimming, or snorkeling.

Overnight: Beachfront Resort

Vanuatu birding toursWe will look for Long-tailed Triller as we birdwatch across Vanuatu.

 

Day 4. Birding Port Vila

This morning we will transfer to Port Vila on Efate where, on arrival, we will bird at an exceptionally beautiful site, with crystal clear water and lush coastal rainforest. We will continue targeting range-restricted species, with Satin Swiftlet, Melanesian Whistler and Grey-eared Honeyeater, which only occur on Vanuatu and neighbouring New Caledonia, often more readily seen on Efate compared to Espiritu Santo. Another highlight will be the truly gorgeous and very vocal Red-bellied Fruit Dove. After this final birding session, this short yet exciting tour of remote Vanuatu will conclude in the afternoon when we journey back to Port Vila. Here we will prepare for our early morning flight from Efate to New Caledonia, and the start of our New Caledonia: Kagu and Other Endemics tour.

Overnight: Not included

 

Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling and other factors. Please note that the tour route is merely indicative because the local flight schedules are only released at quite a late stage, and this often changes the itinerary a little.

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