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Makira and nearby islands
Solomon Islands-Makira.png
Location of Makira in Solomon Islands
Location Solomon Islands
Coordinates 10°33′04″S161°49′41″E / 10.55111°S 161.82806°E / -10.55111; 161.82806 Coordinates: 10°33′04″S161°49′41″E / 10.55111°S 161.82806°E / -10.55111; 161.82806
Area3,190 km2 (1,230 sq mi)
Highest elevation4,101 ft (1250 m)
Highest pointUnnamed Point
Solomon Islands
Province Makira-Ulawa Province
Largest settlement Kirakira
Population55,126 (2020)

The island of Makira (also known as San Cristobal) is the largest island of Makira-Ulawa Province in the Solomon Islands. It is third most populous island after Malaita and Guadalcanal, with a population of 55,126 as of 2020. The island is located east of Guadalcanal and south of Malaita. The largest and capital city is Kirakira.


The first recorded sighting by Europeans of Makira was by the Spanish expedition of Álvaro de Mendaña in June 1568. More precisely the sighting and also landing in San Cristobal was due to a local voyage that set out from Guadalcanal in a small boat, in the accounts the brigantine Santiago, commanded by Alférez Hernando Enriquez and having Hernán Gallego as pilot. They charted it as San Cristóbal. [1] [2]

The Stuyvenberg Rural Training Centre is a rural boarding centre of vocational education by the Society of Mary, located on the north coast of eastern Makira. [3]


A 182,550 ha tract of largely forested land encompassing the eastern part of the island has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it supports populations of several threatened or endemic bird species. The site extends from the rocky cliffs of the coast to the island’s central Bauro Highlands, including the catchments of the Warihito and Raro Rivers, reaching an altitude of 1,200 m, and consisting largely of tropical rainforest. The landscape is rugged, with steep-sided valleys, many streams and waterfalls, and small perched floodplains. Potential threats to the environment are logging, invasive species and human population growth. [4]


Significant birds include Melanesian scrubfowl, yellow-legged pigeons, crested cuckoo-doves, red-knobbed and chestnut-bellied imperial pigeons, white-headed fruit doves, Makira boobooks, pied goshawks, Sanford's sea eagles, San Cristobal dwarf kingfishers, Meek's and duchess lorikeets, yellow-bibbed lories, green pygmy-parrots, Makira honeyeaters, sooty myzomelas, long-tailed trillers, dusky fantails, Makira flycatchers, white-collared and Makira monarchs, island leaf-warblers, shade bush warblers, grey-throated white-eyes, Makira starlings, Makira thrushes and mottled flowerpeckers. The Makira woodhen, or moorhen, has not been seen since 1953; the thick-billed ground dove has not been recorded since 1927 and is presumed extinct. [4]

Other biota

Five species of restricted-range bats have been recorded, as well as a possibly new species of giant rat ( Solomys ). There are two species of endemic fig ( Ficus ). [4]

Related Research Articles

Guadalcanal Island of the Solomon Islands

Guadalcanal is the principal island in Guadalcanal Province of the Solomon Islands, located in the south-western Pacific, northeast of Australia. It is the largest island in the Solomon Islands by area, and the second by population. The island is mainly covered in dense tropical rainforest and has a mountainous interior.

Southeast Solomonic languages

The family of Southeast Solomonic languages forms a branch of the Oceanic languages. It consists of some 26 languages covering the South East Solomon Islands, from the tip of Santa Isabel to Makira. The fact that there is little diversity amongst these languages, compared to groups of similar size in Melanesia, suggests that they dispersed in the relatively recent past. Bugotu is one of the most conservative languages.

Makira-Ulawa Province Province in Kirakira, Solomon Islands

Makira-Ulawa Province is one of the nine provinces of Solomon Islands.


Malaita is the primary island of Malaita Province in Solomon Islands. Malaita is the most populous island of the Solomon Islands, with a population of 160,583 as of 2020, or more than a third of the entire national population. It is also the second largest island in the country by area, after Guadalcanal. A tropical and mountainous island, Malaita's pristine river systems and tropical forests have not been exploited.

Choiseul pigeon An extinct bird from the Solomon Islands

The Choiseul pigeon is an extinct species of bird in the pigeon and dove family, Columbidae. It was endemic to the island of Choiseul in the Solomon Islands, although there are unsubstantiated reports that it may once have lived on several nearby islands. The last confirmed sighting was in 1904. Other common names were Solomons crested pigeon, Solomon Islands crowned-pigeon and Kuvojo.

Indispensable Strait Waterway in the Solomon Islands

Indispensable Strait is a waterway in the Solomon Islands, running about 200 kilometres northwest-southeast from Santa Isabel to Makira, between the Florida Islands and Guadalcanal to the southwest, and Malaita to the northeast.

The thick-billed ground dove is an extinct dove species of the family Columbidae.

Kirakira Place in Makira-Ulawa, Solomon Islands

Kirakira the provincial capital of the Makira-Ulawa Province in Solomon Islands. Kirakira is located on the north coast of Makira, the largest island of the province. It has roads running 18 kilometres (11 mi) east to the Warihito River and 100 kilometres (62 mi) west to Maro'u Bay.

Choiseul Island

Choiseul Island, native name Lauru, is the largest island of the Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands, at 7.08°S 157°E. The administrative headquarters of Choiseul Province is situated in the town of Taro.

Kirakira Airport

Kirakira Airport is an airport located at Kirakira on the island of Makira, part of the Makira-Ulawa Province in the Solomon Islands. It is also known as Ngorangora Airstrip and was constructed in the late 1950s. The airport has scheduled flights provided by Solomon Airlines, using DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft.

The shade bush warbler or shade warbler is a species of bird in the family Cettiidae. It is found only in Solomon Islands, where it is endemic to the island of Makira . Its natural habitats are tropical moist lowland forests and tropical moist montane forest above 600m. It feeds on insects in the undergrowth and on the ground.

Chestnut-bellied monarch

The chestnut-bellied monarch or chestnut-bellied monarch-flycatcher is a species of bird in the family Monarchidae. It is endemic to the Solomon Islands.

Malaita tube-nosed fruit bat Species of bat

The Malaita tube-nosed fruit bat is a species of bat in the family Pteropodidae. It is endemic only to the islands of Malaita and Makira in the Solomon Islands. The species occurs in primary tropical moist forest.

Oriole whistler

The oriole whistler, also known as the yellow-throated whistler, is a species of bird in the family Pachycephalidae, which is endemic to the Solomon Islands (archipelago).

2016 Solomon Island earthquake

On 9 December 2016 at 4:38 a.m. local time, the Solomon Islands region was rocked by an Mww 7.8 earthquake, centered 30 km off San Cristobal Island, about 61 km southwest of Kirakira, the capital of Makira-Ulawa Province. Initially registering magnitude 8.0, later downgraded to 7.8, the temblor prompted tsunami warnings that kept countries surrounding the Coral, Tasman and Solomon Sea on high alert, but was later cancelled. A large aftershock of magnitude 6.9 occurred shortly afterwards. This earthquake was largely felt, waking many residents who later ran to high ground for fears of a potential tsunami. The earthquake killed a child and affected some 34,000 people in Makira, South Malaita and Guadalcanal Island where many had lost their homes or had no access to basic needs. Earthquakes are common in this region, with little or no fatalities. This earthquake is tied with three other magnitude 7.8 earthquakes for the second largest earthquake of 2016. On December 17, the Solomon Islands would be rattled again by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, this time 54 km east of Taron, Papua New Guinea.


  1. Sharp, Andrew The discovery of the Pacific Islands Oxford, 1960, pp.46,47.
  2. Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Explorations The American Geographical Society, New York, 1967, p.133.
  3. SOLOMON ISLANDS. Study to Support the Development of a National Skills Training Plan (Report). Washington: East Asia and Pacific Region. Human Development Sector Unit. The World Bank. March 2007. Report No. 39317-SB.
  4. 1 2 3 "East Makira". BirdLife Data Zone. BirdLife International. Retrieved 6 October 2020.