Todiramphus gambieri 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Coraciiformes Alcedinidae

Scientific Name: Todiramphus gambieri (Oustalet, 1895)
Common Name(s):
English Tuamotu Kingfisher, Mangareva Kingfisher, Niau Kingfisher
Halcyon gambieri ssp. gambieri Oustalet, 189) — Collar and Andrew (1988)
Todirhamphus gambieri ssp. gambieri (Oustalet, 1895) — Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Todirhamphus gambieri ssp. gambieri (Oustalet, 1895) — Collar et al. (1994)
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Identification information: Buffy-cream head and neck. Variable amount of blue feathers on crown. Creamy-white forehead and broad, buffy neck-band. Dusky blue ear-coverts. White chin and underparts, often with rufous band across upper breast. Blue mantle, back, rump, wings and tail.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v); C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Gouni, A., Kesler, D., Raust, P., van der Vliet, R. & O'Brien, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Harding, M., O'Brien, A., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A., Symes, A.
This species is listed as Critically Endangered because it is restricted to an extremely small range on a single island, within which the quality of habitat has been reduced as cyclones have caused the loss of suitable nesting trees. Any potential change in land management within this tiny range could prove catastrophic for the species.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Todiramphus gambieri is confined to the island of Niau in the Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia, where the race niauensis was represented by 400-600 birds in 1974, and reported as common in 1990; the nominate gambieri having become extinct on Mangareva, Gambier Islands, probably prior to 1922 (Holyoak and Thibault 1984, Seitre and Seitre 1991, Seitre and Seitre 1992). Surveys in 2003 and 2004 estimated the total population as 39-51 individuals, significantly lower than previously supposed (Gouni and Sanford 2003, Gouni et al. 2004), but surveys in 2006-2008 suggested that the total population had remained relatively stable at around 125 individuals (Gouni et al. 2006, Gouni and Zysman 2007, D. Kesler in litt. 2008, 2009, 2010), with a slight increase to 135 individuals in 2009 (Gouni et al. 2009).

Countries occurrence:
French Polynesia
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:60
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:1Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Surveys in 2009 estimated 135 individuals, roughly equivalent to 90 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  Approximately the same number of birds were detected annually in surveys from 2006-2008 (with a slight increase in 2009), and data from radio-marked and colour-banded birds do not indicate a major population crash or major population increase (D. Kesler in litt. 2009, 2010). However, studies of demography (Kesler et al. 2012a) indicate that the population may be declining substantially, and that juvenile survival and adult female survival may be the life history stages most compromised in the population.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:90Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species prefers semi-open coconut plantation habitats (Gouni et al. 2006, Gouni and Zysman 2007, Coulombe et al. 2011), limestone forests, and cultivated areas around villages, and readily uses Niau's ephemeral wetlands and ocean coasts for foraging. In particular the species selects agricultural coconut plantations with open understory, hunting perches, and exposed ground (Coulombe et al. 2011, Kesler et al. 2012). Breeding is primarily from September to January (although an active nest has been observed in July, R. van der Vliet in litt. 2012) in nest cavities excavated from dead and decaying coconut palms (thus its choice of nest-site is limited) (Holyoak and Thibault 1984, Gouni et al. 2007, Gouni and Zysman 2007). It feeds on insects (e.g. small coleoptera) and small lizards (Gouni et al. 2006). The main food source for chicks is lizards (Gouni et al. 2006).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):4.8
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Competition for food resources with rats Rattus sp. may pose a threat to the breeding success of this species (Gouni and Sanford 2003, Gouni et al. 2004, Gouni et al. 2006, Gouni and Zysman 2007), while the principal threat to young birds may be predation by feral cats Felis catus (Gouni et al. 2006, Gouni and Zysman 2007): 25-50% of individuals are thought to disappear each year (Gouni et al. 2009). The removal of suitable nesting trees in 1984, following a hurricane in 1983, has reduced the availability of nesting sites (Gouni and Sanford 2003, Gouni et al. 2004, Gouni et al. 2006, Gouni and Zysman 2007). The species may benefit from agricultural management, as it prefers coconut plantations managed with prescribed burning for hunting (Coulombe et al. 2011) and survival in those areas is enhanced (Kesler et al. 2012a). As such, any changes to the land management of the island could prove catastrophic for the species. Cutting and burning of dead coconut trees may destroy nesting sites, and there is a risk of fire spreading to nesting trees or disturbance from smoke if fire is used to clean coconuts during the nesting season (Raust 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Niau is included in the Fakarava Man and Biosphere Protected Area (P. Raust in litt. 1999). A project studying the species's ecology, behaviour and movements took place from 2006 to 2012. The entire island was thoroughly surveyed for the birds, which were colour-ringed and radio-tagged to track movements, nesting success and survival. A demographic analysis of band returns and habitat impacts was conducted in 2012 and indicated extremely low survival in adult females and juvenile birds (Kesler et al. 2012a). Additional genetic studies have taken place to evaluate heritage and genetic variability that may impact survival. A rat control programme has been set up through work with the local community. This will target stands of coconut palms in which the species nests. Additionally, a cooperative program to protect nesting habitat was started with resident coconut farmers and an endangered species education program was initiated in the Niau primary school. Nesting trees are marked with signs giving recommendations for their protection, and trunks of nesting trees are banded to prevent predation by rats (Raust 2012). The natural history of the species was thoroughly investigated on Niau (Kesler 2011, Coulombe et al. 2011, Kesler et al. 2012a), following which an experimental translocation on Niau in 2010 proved successful and provided a means of testing translocation methods and assessing the impact of harvest from the donor population (Kesler et al. 2012b). The Makatea and Anaa (Gambier islands) have been assessed for their suitability for a translocated population, with the atoll complex of Anaa providing the best release option (D. Kessler in litt. 2012). Research is being conducted on the diet of invasive rats and cats to see whether they are predating chicks, or competing with adults (Vidal et al. 2010). Two studies have illustrated the birds' association with agricultural coconut plantations (Coulombe et al. 2011) and provide recommendations for managing coconut habitats to benefit the birds.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research the impact of rats and cats on kingfisher survival and reproduction. Provide nest boxes to increase the availability of nest-sites (Gouni et al. 2004). Facilitate the establishment of a second supplementary population on Anaa through translocations (Fry et al. 1992, Gouni et al. 2006, D. Kesler in litt. 2008, 2009, 2010) and establish a captive-breeding programme to support future supplementations/reintroductions. Promote best practice with coconut farmers to reduce losses and disturbance to nesting trees (Raust 2012).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Todiramphus gambieri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22683499A92988229. . Downloaded on 26 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided