List of birds of American Samoa facts for kids
This is a list of the bird species recorded in American Samoa. The avifauna of American Samoa include a total of 75 species as of late 2019, according to Bird Checklists of the World. Of them, 15 are rare or accidental, four have been introduced by humans, and one, the mao, is extirpated. American Samoa has no endemic bird species but several near-endemics occur and many of the land birds occur in good numbers. A variety of seabirds breed in the islands. Hunting and introduced predators have reduced their numbers but there are still some important breeding sites such as Lata Mountain on Ta'u Island.
This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (English and scientific names) are those of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2019 edition.
The following tags have been used to highlight several categories of occurrence.
- (A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in American Samoa
- (I) Introduced - a species introduced to American Samoa as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions
- (Ex) Extirpated - a species that no longer occurs in American Samoa although populations exist elsewhere
- Ducks, geese, and waterfowl
- Pheasants, grouse, and allies
- Pigeons and doves
- Rails, gallinules, and coots
- Plovers and lapwings
- Sandpipers and allies
- Gulls, terns, and skimmers
- Southern storm-petrels
- Shearwaters and petrels
- Boobies and gannets
- Herons, egrets, and bitterns
- Old World parrots
- Monarch flycatchers
Ducks, geese, and waterfowl
Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating.
- Northern shoveler, Spatula clypeata (A)
- Pacific black duck, Anas superciliosa
- Eastern spot-billed duck, Anas zonorhyncha
Pheasants, grouse, and allies
The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls, and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings.
- Red junglefowl, Gallus gallus (I)
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia (A)
- Shy ground dove, Alopecoenas stairi
- Many-colored fruit-dove, Ptilinopus perousii
- Crimson-crowned fruit-dove, Ptilinopus porphyraceus
- Pacific imperial-pigeon, Ducula pacifica
- Long-tailed koel, Urodynamis taitensis
Order: Caprimulgiformes Family: Apodidae
Swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang.
- White-rumped swiftlet, Aerodramus spodiopygius
- Australian swiftlet, Aerodramus terraereginae
Rails, gallinules, and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers.
- Buff-banded rail, Gallirallus philippensis
- Black-backed swamphen, Porphyrio indicus
- Australasian swamphen, Porphyrio melanotus
- Spotless crake, Zapornia tabuensis
Plovers and lapwings
Order: Charadriiformes Family: Charadriidae
The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short thick necks, and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water.
Sandpipers and allies
Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers, and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.
- Bristle-thighed curlew, Numenius tahitiensis
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus (A)
- Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Wandering tattler, Tringa incana
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns, and skimmers. Gulls are typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with gray or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years.
- Laughing gull, Leucophaeus atricilla (A)
- Brown noddy, Anous stolidus
- Black noddy, Anous minutus
- Blue-gray noddy, Anous ceruleus
- White tern, Gygis alba
- Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscatus
- Gray-backed tern, Onychoprion lunatus
- Bridled tern, Onychoprion anaethetus (A)
- Black-naped tern, Sterna sumatrana (A)
- Greater crested tern, Thalasseus bergii (A)
Order: Phaethontiformes Family: Phaethontidae
Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings.
- White-tailed tropicbird, Phaethon lepturus
- Red-tailed tropicbird, Phaethon rubricauda
Order: Procellariiformes Family: Oceanitidae
The southern storm-petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.
- White-faced storm-petrel, Pelagodroma marina (A)
- Black-bellied storm-petrel, Fregetta tropica (A)
- Polynesian storm-petrel, Nesofregetta fuliginosa
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary.
- Herald petrel, Pterodroma heraldica
- Mottled petrel, Pterodroma inexpectata (A)
- White-necked petrel, Pterodroma cervicalis
- Black-winged petrel, Pterodroma nigripennis (A)
- Gould's petrel, Pterodroma leucoptera
- Collared petrel, Pterodroma brevipes
- Phoenix petrel, Pterodroma alba
- Tahiti petrel, Pterodroma rostrata
- Flesh-footed shearwater, Ardenna carneipes (A)
- Wedge-tailed shearwater, Ardenna pacificus
- Sooty shearwater, Ardenna griseus
- Short-tailed shearwater, Ardenna tenuirostris
- Christmas shearwater, Puffinus nativitatis
- Newell's shearwater, Puffinus newelli (A)
- Tropical shearwater, Puffinus bailloni
Order: Suliformes Family: Fregatidae
Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black-and-white, or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have colored inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week.
- Lesser frigatebird, Fregata ariel
- Great frigatebird, Fregata minor
Boobies and gannets
Order: Suliformes Family: Sulidae
Herons, egrets, and bitterns
The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons, and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises, and spoonbills.
- White-faced heron, Egretta novaehollandiae (A)
- Pacific reef-heron, Egretta sacra
Barn-owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons.
- Barn owl, Tyto alba
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails.
- Pacific kingfisher, Todirhamphus sacer
- Collared kingfisher, Todiramphus chloris
Old World parrots
Order: Psittaciformes Family: Psittaculidae
Characteristic features of parrots include a strong curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet. Many parrots are vividly colored, and some are multi-colored. In size they range from 8 cm (3.1 in) to 1 m (3.3 ft) in length. Old World parrots are found from Africa east across south and southeast Asia and Oceania to Australia and New Zealand.
- Blue-crowned lorikeet, Vini australis
The honeyeaters are a large and diverse family of small to medium-sized birds most common in Australia and New Guinea. They are nectar feeders and closely resemble other nectar-feeding passerines.
- Samoan myzomela, Myzomela nigriventris
- Mao, Gymnomyza samoensis (Ex)
- Eastern wattled-honeyeater, Foulehaio carunculatus
Order: Passeriformes Family: Monarchidae
The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching.
- Fiji shrikebill, Clytorhynchus vitiensis
Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colorful with yellow, red, or orange vents, cheeks, throats or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests.
- Red-vented bulbul, Pycnonotus cafer (I)
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen.
- Polynesian starling, Aplonis tabuensis
- Samoan starling, Aplonis atrifusca
- Common myna, Acridotheres tristis (I)
- Jungle myna, Acridotheres fuscus (I)
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly but not exclusively in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs.
- Island thrush, Turdus poliocephalus
List of birds of American Samoa Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.