The Best Places to See Birds in Samoa
Have you got a soft spot for seeing our tropical feathered friends flittering in the wild? So do we! Although Samoa isn’t as famous for its birds as other islands in the South Pacific, the nation still has intriguing endemic species, as well as amazing seabirds and migrating birds. Check out the best places to see them in this list of the best spots for bird watching in Samoa.
1. O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park
One of the most accessible bird-watching areas in Samoa, O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park is home to around 42 different bird species and is 100% free to visit. Take one of the walking trails, such as the Ma Tree Walk or to Togitogiga Waterfall and you’ll likely spot some of Samoa’s native land species like the Samoan starling (pictured), kingfishers and others listed in the 20 Animals & Birds Found in Samoa. Head on the Coastal Walk and you’ll likely have a few seabirds added into the mix. Find out more about all of the walks mentioned in the 15 Best Walks & Hikes in Samoa.
Location: Main South Coast Road, central south coast of Upolu.
2. A’opo Conservation Area
An ecologically diverse area on the central north coast of Savai’i, the A’opo Conservation Area is a protected part of one of the largest tracts of tropical rainforest in Polynesia. Bird-watchers can experience the heart of the conservation area by taking the 2-3-day hike up Mt Silisili, Samoa’s highest peak. On the edge of the conservation area is Laauoleola Cave which is an excellent example of white-rumped swiftlet habitat where you’re almost guaranteed sightings of this unique bird that uses sonar to navigate through the dark lava tube. White-rumped swiftlets (pe’ape’a) can be found in almost all of Samoa’s caves, so also take a look a the 10 Best Caves in Samoa.
Location: A’opo, along the Main North Coast Road, central north coast of Savai’i.
3. Malololelei Recreation Reserve
Excellent for birdwatching and even better for getting off the beaten track, the Malololelei Recreation Reserve offers an array of trails through 30 acres of bushland. Enjoy waterfalls, picnic areas, swimming holes and a viewing platform overlooking Apia on a series of rough trails that can take one hour to a whole day! The conservation area is one of the best spots on Upolu for spotting endemic birds yet is only 15 minutes from Apia.
Location: Malololelei village. There is no signage for the reserve. Take the Cross Island Road south of Apia and past the Baha’i Temple, turning right onto Kelsey Lane. Follow the road all the way to the 90-degree bend (past the Shrine of the Divine Mercy). The gate to the reserve is located on this bend.
4. Tafua Crater
On a 1-hour walk to the Tafua Crater on the south coast of Savai’i, your guide will endeavour to point out Samoa’s fascinating and rare wildlife, such as the manumea (tooth-billed pigeon) and flying foxes. The top of the crater provides awesome views of the surrounding coastline and villages. Bring acceptable walking shoes and binoculars if you have them.
Location: Tafua-tai village. From Maoto village on the main road, take the road to the coast which is approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) to Tafua village. Guides are best hired via the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association.
5. Uafato Conservation Area
One of the oldest geological areas in Samoa, the Uafato Conservation Area encompasses 2,500 ha (6,178 acres) of native forest containing some 380 species of plants and 19 species of birds, including Samoan’s national bird, the manumea. While some surfers will pass through the conservation area on their way to the Tiavea surf break, the best way for bird-watchers to experience the area is to take the 4WD road to Uafato village where guides of the Uafato Bird Hide Trail can take you on a 25-minute one-way walk through the forest to a specially constructed bird hide elevated on a high ridge in the forest.
Location: Uafato village, approximately 13 km (8 mi) off Richardson Road on the east coast of Upolu. Note that the road is unsealed and a 4WD or a high-clearance vehicle is the most suitable for access. There is an information panel about the trail in the village with contact details for the hike (760 5200). Otherwise, ask at a fale near the sign to make arrangements.
More About Bird Watching in Samoa
That’s it for our guide to the best places for bird watching in Samoa. For more about the birds of Samoa, as well as nature tours and the like, take a look at the guides below:
- 20 Animals & Birds Found in Samoa
- Wildlife in Samoa: Animals in Samoa & Where to See Them
- 10 Best Nature & Wildlife Tours in Samoa