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Trichoglossus rubiginosus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PSITTACIFORMES PSITTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Trichoglossus rubiginosus
Species Authority: (Bonaparte, 1850)
Common Name(s):
English Pohnpei Lorikeet

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Gilardi, J., Gilardi, J., O'Brien, M. & Raynor, B.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J., Taylor, J.
Justification:
This species is listed as Near Threatened because its population, the vast majority of which forms one sub-population, is suspected to be in decline owing to land-use changes and off-take for various motivations. It also has a very small range; however, this is unlikely to be declining given the species's adaptability, nor is the population severely fragmented or restricted to a few locations.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Trichoglossus rubiginosus is endemic to the island of Pohnpei and large forested islets of Ant Atoll, in the eastern Caroline Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (Engbring et al. 1990, del Hoyo et al. 1997). The population was estimated at 88,107 individuals following surveys in 1983-1984 although this was probably an overestimate given the mobility of the species (Engbring et al. 1990). Surveys conducted in 1994 suggested that the species had declined by 74-75% since the early 1980s, probably indicating a real decline (Buden 2000). The current population is thought to exceed 10,000 individuals (Juniper and Parr 1998, M. O'Brien in litt. 2011).

Countries:
Native:
Micronesia, Federated States of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Surveys conducted in 1983-1984 yielded an estimate of 88,107 individuals; however, this was probably an overestimate, and surveys in 1994 registered an apparent decline of 74-75%. The current population probably numbers over 10,000 individuals (M. O'Brien in litt. 2011), roughly equivalent to 6,700 mature individuals. Further study is required.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species is found throughout the island up to c.600 m, occurring in a broad range of habitats including plantations, dense forest, secondary forest, mangroves (Juniper and Parr 1998) and around urban areas (Engbring et al. 1990, J. R. Gilardi in litt. 2011, M. O'Brien in litt. 2011). It feeds on nectar, pollen and fruit, particularly favouring nectar from coral trees Erythrina fusca and mango Mangifera indica fruit, but also noted to favour flowers of coconuts, bananas and Elaeocarpus species (Engbring et al. 1990, Juniper and Parr 1998). The species nests in the tops of coconut palms or in cavities in large trees (Juniper and Parr 1998), but also shows a preference for Xylocarpus mangroves (Engbring et al. 1990). Nesting generally takes place from December to May, although there is evidence of breeding outside this period, and only one egg is laid by each female (Juniper and Parr 1998).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although the species is known to use a range of habitats, it may have suffered some negative effects from deforestation, which has been rapid. Overall, there was a reduction of undisturbed upland forest on Pohnpei of over 60% from 1975 to 1995 (Buden 1996, 2000, B. Raynor in litt. 1995, 2012). The majority of the island's forests have been to various degrees converted or at least degraded to mixed forest (native species mixed with lowland secondary species), largely attributable to the cultivation of sakau (= kava) Piper methysticum as a major cash-crop (B. Raynor in litt. 2012). The fragmentation of such forest by sakau clearings also introduces and encourages the spread of invasive species in isolated areas throughout the forest. Although efforts over the past 20 years to reduce the amount of clear-cutting for sakau plantations have resulted in the slowing of native forest conversion rates, the trend remains negative (B. Raynor in litt. 2012). There is a history of this species being hunted for food, persecuted for its perceived pest status and superstitious associations, and captured for trade, with the presence of some birds in captivity suggesting that nest poaching is still taking place (J. R. Gilardi in litt. 2010, 2011, M. O'Brien in litt. 2011). Its pest status may be exaggerated, as it apparently only inflicts minor damage on crops such as mangoes (Engbring et al. 1990).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It is now the official state bird of Pohnpei and thus killing, trapping and export of the species are illegal (Engbring et al. 1990, Juniper and Parr 1998). Campaigns have been successful at reducing persecution and hunting pressure, as well as forest clearance for agriculture by encouraging cultivation at lower elevations (Buden 2000). However, there has been resistance to the latter because sakau grows better on wet mountain slopes and crops are likely to be safer in more remote areas (Buden 2000).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain an up-to-date population estimate. Monitor trends in the species's population and land use patterns on Pohnpei. Increase the area of primary forest that is protected. Encourage management practices that preserve large trees with holes and cavities and large Xylocarpus mangroves (Engbring et al. 1990.


Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Trichoglossus rubiginosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 December 2014.
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