David J James & Ian A W McAllan, 2014. Australian Field Ornithology (AFO) 31: supplement 2014. Pp 1-175, 27 colour photographs. ISSN 1448-0107.
AFO is a quarterly journal (formerly The Australian Bird Watcher, in 1959-2002); for information on subscriptions or how to obtain back issues, go to: birdlife.org.au/support-us/join-us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This booklet, a journal's supplement, presents an account of the human history, biogeography and all known bird records from Christmas Island. This isolated oceanic island is situated in between Java, Cocos Islands and Western Australia and, politically, it belongs to Australia. At least 149 species have been recorded of which 108 concern vagrants from South-east Asia and the Palearctic. There are 23 breeding species, of which 11 endemic taxa, seven listed here as species. Apart from one palaeo-endemic Abbott's Booby Papasula abbotti, there are also six neo-endemic species: Christmas Island Imperial-Pigeon Ducula whartoni, Christmas Island Swiftlet Collocalia natalis, Christmas Island Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi, Christmas Island Goshawk Accipiter natalis, Christmas Island Hawk-Owl Ninox natalis and Christmas Island White-eye Zosterops natalis.
Among the many rare migrant or vagrant species, there are, for instance, six rails Rallidae, 35 waders, 11 terns Sterninae, five cuckoos Cuculidae, and c 20 passerines. The latter include Palearctic vagrants like Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus (at least three records), Tiger Shrike L tigrinus (one), Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica, Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus (one), Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola (one), Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis (two), Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana, Daurian Starling Agropsar sturninus (two) and at least seven species of wagtail Motacilla. The booklet gives the birder expertly updated information on Christmas Island, and it is recommended to everyone with a special feel for oceanic islands.
Arnoud B van den Berg