The Fiji Islands are located in southern Melanesia, and consist of two major islands surrounded by an archipelago of hundreds of smaller ones as well as islets, volcanic rocks, and atolls. Many of the larger islands are mountainous and covered by forests. The Fijis, as elsewhere, suffered from the early European practice of introducing animals indiscriminately. Both the mongoose – released to control the black rats brought to the Fijis by the Polynesians – and the sambar deer (Rusa unicolor) have been most harmful, the former killing groundnesting birds, the latter destroying vegetation. At least 15 species of birds have also been introduced, which compete with local species.

McDonald’s long-tailed fruit bat (Notopteris macdonaldi) is confined to the Fiji Islands and Vanuatu, where its large cave-dependent colonies are threatened by hunting and disturbance. The species historically occurred in the Tonga Islands as well, but was extirpated following the arrival of Polynesians.

Felten’s free-tailed bat (Chaerephon bregullae) is confined to a few roosting caves in Vanuatu (Malo and Espíritu Santo) and on Taveuni, Vanua Levu, and possibly Viti Levu in the Fiji Islands. The species formerly occurred in the Tonga Islands as well, but was extirpated there during prehistoric times. It is threatened by hunting and human disturbance.

The collared petrel (Pterodroma brevipes) is a type of seabird widespread across the South Pacific during nonbreeding periods. The nominate subspecies (P. b. brevipes) is, however, currently known to breed only on Gau and Kadavu in the Fiji Islands. It formerly bred elsewhere in the Fiji Islands and on Raratonga in the Cook Islands, and may still breed on Makira in the Solomons, Tau in the Samoan Islands, and in other as-yet undiscovered localities in French Polynesia. It is threatened mainly by introduced rats, cats, and mongoose.

The bar-winged rail (Hypotaenidia poeciloptera) was an almost flightless species that was long known only from a dozen specimens collected on Viti Levu and Ovalau during the nineteenth century. It was reported from Taveuni in 1971 and from Viti Levu in 1973, but there have been no more reports since then and the species is now thought to be extinct, a victim of introduced cats and mongooses.

The red-throated lorikeet (Charmosyna amabilis) historically occurred on Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Ovalau. Always regarded as rare, the species was decimated by introduced black rats and loss of habitat. There were unconfirmed reports from the 1980s and 1990s from Vanua Levu, Ovalau, and Taveuni, but no actual specimens, photos or observations exist from the latter two islands since 1965. The species now appears to be confined to the mountains of Viti Levu, and perhaps Vanua Levu.

The long-legged thicketbird (Megalurulus rufus) is a large, thinly built warbler with a long tail and legs. Four specimens were collected on Viti Levu between 1890 and 1894, after which the species was not reported again (apart from a few unconfirmed sightings) until 1974, when a fifth specimen was found on Vanua Levu. In 2003 a small population was discovered in the Wabu Forest Reserve on Viti Levu, and subsequently others in a few areas of montane forest. The total population is thought be between 70 and 400.

The Fijian crested iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis) was historically widespread on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, but was extirpated there due to mongoose predation and the conversion of most of their dry forest habitat into sugarcane plantations and other development. By the latter part of the twentieth century it was confined to a few smaller satellite islands in the north-western Fiji archipelago (Yadua Taba, Yadua, Macuata, Yaquaga, Devuilau, Waya, Malolo Levu, Qalito, Monu, and Monuriki). Since then, with the exception of those on Yadua Taba and possibly Macuata, all other populations have become barely detectable and perhaps functionally extinct due to habitat degradation by goats, predation by feral cats, and fires. The Fijian banded iguana (B. bulabula) is historically known from the wetter islands of Vita Levu (where it is now present only in a few remote parts of the highlands), Vanua Levu (now extirpated), Ovalau, Kadavu, Mali, and Cikobia, and may have once inhabited several others. It too is seriously threatened by mongoose, black rat and feral cat predation, goat herding, and loss of habitat.

The Fijian scaly-toed gecko (Lepidodactylus manni) is confined to highland areas of Viti Levu, Ovalau, and the Kadavu Islands.

The Viti copper-headed emo skink (Emoia parkeri) is known only from six islands within the Fiji Islands, where it is threatened by loss of habitat and mongoose predation.

The Fijian wrinkled ground frog (Cornufer vitianus) historically occurred widely on Fiji but is now restricted to the mongoose-free islands of Ovalau, Gau, Taveuni, and Viwa.

Lever’s goby (Redigobius leveri) is known only from a few shallow freshwater creeks and rivers on Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni.

Viti Levu

Viti Levu is the largest and most populous of the Fijian Islands. Its rather rugged terrain is divided into roughly equal halves by a north–south mountain range. The centre of the island is forested and features Mount Tomanivi, Fiji’s highest peak.

The pink-billed parrotfinch (Erythrura kleinschmidti) is confined to Viti Levu, where it is rare and patchily distributed.

The Viti Levu mountain emo skink (Emoia campbelli) is known only from a single locality in the mountains of Viti Levu. It has not been recorded since the 1980s.

The Viti Levu snake (Ogmodon vitianus) is confined to the south-eastern part of the island.

The Viti Levu dartfish (Parioglossus triquetrus) is known from a small area of mangrove swamps and creeks in southern Viti Levu.

Vanua Levu

Vanua Levu (formerly known as Sandalwood Island) is the second largest island in Fiji, and is located some 65 km to the north of Viti Levu.

The Natewa silktail (Lamprolia klinesmithi) is a type of passerine bird confined to the Natewa Peninsula in eastern Vanua Levu, which continues to be extensively logged.

The Vanua Levu mountain emo skink (Emoia mokosariniveikau) is known only from a few localities.

The Lekutu goby (Redigobius lekutu) is a freshwater fish confined to two river systems in the north of the island.

The Kadavu Islands

The Kadavu Islands are an archipelago located south of Viti Levu. Dominated by Kadavu, the fourth largest island in Fiji, it also includes Ono, Drauni, Galoa, and a number of islets in the Great Astrolabe Reef.

The crimson shining-parrot (Prosopeia splendens) is confined to the islands of Kadavu and Ono. Reports of breeding on other islands are unconfirmed, but are likely to originate from escaped cage birds.


Taveuni is a massive, cigar-shaped shield volcano located east of Vanua Levu.

The Fijian monkey-faced fruit bat (Mirimiri acrodonta) is only positively known from the summit of Des Voeux Peak on this island, although it may also be present at high elevations on Vanua Levu.

The Taveuni blind snake (Ramphotyphlops aluensis) is known only from a single locality on Taveuni.


Rotuma is a shield volcano and considered an Important Bird Area as defined by BirdLife International.

The Rotuma myzomela (Myzomela chermesina) is a type of honeyeater confined to Rotuma and a few offshore islets.

The Rotuma scaly-toed gecko (Lepidodactylus gardineri) is highly specialized within its already restricted distribution.

Gau Island

Gau is a large island whose forested interior is considered an Important Bird Area as defined by BirdLife International.

The Fijian petrel (Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi) was long known only from a single fledgling male collected on Gau Island in 1855. In recent years, however, there have been a number of reports of grounded birds on the island, while at sea the only unequivocal sighting was in 2009. The total population is unknown, but may number less than 100.

The Gau banded iguana (Brachylophus gau) is entirely confined to Gau, where it mainly inhabits upland forests as well as coastal forest patches. It is threatened by rat and feral cat predation, degradation of habitat by goats, and fires.

The Lau Islands

The Lau Islands are a chain of about 60 islands and islets located in eastern Fiji.

The Lau banded iguana (Brachylophus fasciatus) is native to the Lau Islands, where it is was at one time widespread but is now confined to around 11 islands. An additional population in the Tonga Islands was introduced by humans during historic times, most likely for use as a food source. It is threatened by loss of habitat and introduced species, in particular rats and feral cats.


Ono-i-Lau is actually a group of six islands within a common barrier reef system in the Lau Islands. It consists of four central volcanic islands and three clusters of limestone islets.

The Ono-i-Lau ground skink (Leiolopisma alazon) was probably widespread on Ono-i-Lau prior to the introduction of cats and pigs, but is now restricted to three small islets. It has only been recorded once since its original description in the 1980s.