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The Whistlers of Kolombangara

by Andrew Skeoch

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The song of the Golden Whistlers of the Solomon Islands is one of nature's marvels.

This recording takes you to the island of Kolombangara to experience their melodic, rhythmic (and very loud!) voices reverberating through the rainforests that cloak the island's volcanic flanks.

We begin with a hypnotic chorus of frogs and insects filling the tropical predawn.

Suddenly a Golden Whistler breaks the calm with an exuberant ripple of sound that sends a shiver up the spine. From then on there's no stopping him, as he pours out a sequence of rhythmic melodies at high volume.

As the morning moves on, the Whistlers ease back, and a variety of birdsong filters down from the forest canopy - Lorikeets, Mynahs, Flycatchers, Hornbills, White-eyes, Pigeons, Cockatoos - along with the gentle buzz of diurnal insects.

With the afternoon, we hear one of the other unusual voices of these forests; the growls and booming calls of the Buff-headed Coucal.

A Whistler gives some last calls as the light begins to fade and the electric vibration of dusk cicadas fills the air. After dark, the forest is filled with frogs once again, this time a multitude of chiming 'Koni' frogs.


When we arrived on Tetepare Island, Sarah asked our local guide Twomey; "What is your favourite songbird?" He replied without hesitation - the Golden Whistler. As it turned out, we didn't hear them on Tetepare while we were there. Our second destination was Kolombangara Island, and once again, when we met our local guide, Moffat, his favourite was… you guessed it.

When we heard our first Golden Whistler, we knew why. They are just spectacular. We found ourselves tapping our feet as their percussive songs filled the forest.

Whilst the Whistlers are the show-stealers, we've conceived this album as a sound portrait of the Kolombangara forests, from dawn to nightfall. This is a recording to sit down, maybe with headphones, and immerse yourself in.

So much rainforest has been logged in the Solomons, and Kolombangara's forests are now a remaining treasure, filled with rare and unusual creatures and sounds. It is one of the wildest and most pristine environments we have traveled to. However it remains under a cloud of uncertainty, with logging currently threatening. There is good reasons to hope the local community will gather behind a proposal for long-term protection of their island.


released October 15, 2012

Recording location:
Kolombangara Island, Solomon Islands, Western Pacific


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Andrew Skeoch Australia

Andrew is a master wildlife field recordist. For over 30 years, he and partner / photographer Sarah Koschak have been documenting the voices of the world's ecosystems and wild creatures. The resulting recordings have been published through their dedicated label: Listening Earth ... more

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