The first ever nest of the Long-legged Warbler has been discovered near Monosavu by Mark Beaman of Quest Birds and Vili Masibalavu.
Mark Beaman of Quest Birds first noted the cryptic nest of Fiji’s endangered Long Legged Warbler, or Manukalou on 3rd August, 2009.
Mr Beaman was part of a birding group led by Vili Masibalavu, one of Fiji’s foremost ornithologists and author of “Important Bird Areas in Fiji”, to the site – a known Long-legged Warbler habitat.
Since the discovery of the nest, Vili has been keeping a close eye on its progress, and on Satuday 8th August he showed the nest to a group of NatureFiji-MareqetiViti bird enthusiasts.
At the time of our visit, two eggs had turned into two healthy-looking chicks (see photo) with a mother bird heard calling nearby, but unseen.
The nest was discovered tucked into a moss-covered, cliff face surrounding a waterfall, which could well be a preferred nesting site for this species as Vilikesa has heard several warblers calling at similar sites. At this point in time, the species remains little studied and poorly understood. For this reason, it has been featured on NatureFiji-MareqetiViti’s Endangered Species website.
The Viti Levu form of Long-Legged Warbler was thought to be extinct until a confirmed sighting in 2003, the first in over 100 years, and its population is now estimated to be over 200 birds. This is not to be confused with what we know of t he Vanua Levu form, which was first discovered in the 1970’s and has not been seen since.
Seeing the long-legged warbler for the first time were seven of NatureFiji-MareqetiViti’s keenest birders in Nunia Thomas, Eleazar O’Connor, Dick Watling, Baravi Thaman, Amanda Rogers, Jone Niukula of National Trust, and Isaac Rounds of Conservation International.