St. Helena is a birdwatcher's paradise - one of the major seabird breeding areas on St. Helena is Egg Island. St Helena still offers much to interest the visiting birder. Although the huge petrel colonies are a thing of the past, a substantial seabird population remains. This is dominated by Black Noddy Anous minutus and Fairy Tern Gygis alba. Red-billed Tropicbirds Phaethon aethereus are relatively common and Masked Boobies Sula dactylatra are increasing.
The Wirebird is the principal interest amongst the terrestrial species but the current avifauna also includes attractive birds like introduced species such as Java Sparrow Padda Oryzivora and Madagascar Red fody Foudia Madagascariensis.
The Wirebird is the only endemic bird on St Helena; as such it is the National Bird. Because of the Wirebird's declining numbers, it has been placed in IUCN's Critically endangered catergory. which has prompted action to conserve the Wirebird, including the development of a Species Action Plan, which has a long-term vision to: 'find a way to happily co-exist allowing St Helena to develop and the Wirebird to thrive'.
The Wirebird Code
Remember, the Wirebird is an endangered species. Please assist its conservation by observing the following five points when visiting Wirebird sites:
1) If you encounter an adult Wirebird that drags its wings along the ground and falls over at intervals this bird is trying to distract you from eggs or chicks hidden nearby. Do not attempt to search for these as you may tread on them. Follow the displaying bird, which will lead you out of the danger zone.
2) If you come across a Wirebird nest do not linger at the site, especially in cool or windy weather. The incubating bird is unlikely to return until you are at least 50m away and there is a danger that the eggs will become chilled if left unattended for long.
3) Do not handle eggs or chicks.
4) Do not disturb adult Wirebirds with chicks. Small chicks will usually hide when approached and most adults will not return to them if there are people within 100m. This puts the chicks at risk as they need to be brooded regularly.
5) If you take a vehicle into Wirebird habitat please keep to well-defined tracks.
Download the checklist of Birds on St. Helena.