5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com
5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga

5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga

© TongaPocketGuide.com

Where to See Birds in Tonga

Wildlife such as humpback whales and other diverse marine life take the limelight for many nature lovers visiting Tonga, but did you know that Tonga also has an interesting array of bird species? Yes, the birder, twitcher or casual appreciator of wildlife will find some amazing birds in these remote Pacific Islands, from majestic seabirds like the white-tailed tropicbird to extremely rare endemic species like the Tongan megapode. See where to watch these birds and more in this list of the best places for bird watching in Tonga.

1. Maninita Island

An uninhabited island in the southern part of the Vava’u island group, Maninita has become a safe haven for Tonga’s endemic and native birds. The island has had pest eradication programs to remove threats from the island so that more than 19 species of bird can reside safely on the island. Some of the land species include the wattled honeyeater, banded rail, Tongan whistler and white-collared kingfisher, while seabirds include black and brown noddies, white terns, black-winged petrels and red-footed boobies. Bird-watching tours to the island are available from Mounu Island Resort and Treasure Island Eco Resort if boats are not being used for whale watching.

Location: Maninita, southern Vava’u.

5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga(c) tongapocketguide.com

2. ‘Eua National Park

The island of ‘Eua, just a short flight or half-day ferry journey from Tongatapu, is unlike any other island in Tonga in that it’s the oldest island in Tonga and holds ancient rainforest. That rainforest can be found in the ‘Eua National Park, where it’s possible to spot red shining parrots (koki), Pacific pigeons, crimson-crowned fruit doves, Polynesian trillers, wattled honeyeaters, Polynesian starlings and white-collared kingfishers.

To explore the ‘Eua National Park, there are a number of guided tours available, but the best way to spot birds is simply by hiking through the national park, as explained in 5 Best Hikes in ‘Eua.

Location: ‘Eua National Park, east side of ‘Eua.

5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

3. Lakufa’anga Cliffs

On the south coast of ‘Eua, particularly around Lakufa’anga Cliffs, you can spot an amazing array of seabirds, including brown boobies, brown and grey noddies, white terns and white-tailed tropicbirds. Many birds nest on the cliffs in these parts, which although difficult to witness nesting, can still be seen swooping overhead. Lakufa’anga Cliffs can be accessed on a self-guided walk/drive. Again, check out the 5 Best Hikes in ‘Eua or Sightseeing on ‘Eua: Top 10 Sights & Natural Attractions for more details.

Location: South coast of ‘Eua. Take the main road all of the way south until you reach a gate that you’ll need to open (and close behind you). The road turns into well-established grass trails for vehicles to explore the area.

5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

4. Sopu Mudflats

On Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, the Sopu Mudflats are a good site for wading bird enthusiasts. The mudflats are located west of Nuku’alofa and contain species such as Pacific black duck, reef egrets, black-naped and crested terns, while less common species include white-faced and mangrove herons, white-collared kingfishers and Pacific swallows. The Sopu Mudflats are easy to access by road.

Location: Suburb of Sopu, west side of Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu.

5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

5. Nuiafo’ou

Those lucky enough to make it to the remote island of Niuafo’ou in the far northern reaches of Tonga will possibly be rewarded with fantastic bird sightings. It’s home to the extremely rare and endemic Tongan megapode, where villagers from Angaha can organise boat transport across the island’s water-filled caldera to see this rare bird. Learn more about visiting this island in The Complete Guide to The Niuas.

Location: Niuafo’ou, The Niuas.

5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga© Michael Lusk on Wikipedia

More About Bird Watching in Tonga

That’s it for the best bird watching in Tonga. For more wildlife encounters in The Kingdom, check out the following guides:

Finally, inspire yourself with more experiences with the 101 Best Things to Do in Tonga: The Ultimate List. Plus, get even more tips in The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga.


Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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