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Charmosyna amabilis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PSITTACIFORMES PSITTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Charmosyna amabilis
Species Authority: (Ramsay, 1875)
Common Name(s):
English Red-throated Lorikeet
Spanish Lori Gorgirrojo

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(i,ii);D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Allport, G., Dutson, G., Hayman, P., Kretzschmar, J., Masibalavu, V., O'Brien, M. & Watling, D.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Derhé, M., O'Brien, A., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Temple, H.
Justification:
This species qualifies as Critically Endangered because the lack of recent records, despite considerable survey effort, suggests it has a tiny population which is presumably continuing to decline as a result of predation from introduced rats and loss of habitat.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Charmosyna amabilis occurs on the islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Ovalau, Fiji. It has always been regarded as a rare species although 10 specimens were collected during a one-month visit in 1925 (Watling 2000). It appears to be patchily distributed, with observations becoming scarcer within recent years (J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 2000, V. Masibalavu in litt. 2012). The last record by observers familiar with this species was in 1993, but one sighting at Mt Tomaniivi (=Mt Victoria) on Viti Levu in 2001 is supported by detailed field notes (P. Hayman in litt. 2004). Nearly all recent records on Viti Levu have been in the Mt Tomaniivi area(Watling 2000), but two birds were seen in the Nausori Highlands in 1998 (G. Allport in litt. 2000). However, a survey on Viti Levu in 2001-2002 searched for the lorikeet in the central highlands, where it has been seen most frequently since the 1970s. During 49 days in the field no birds were seen or calls heard (Swinnerton and Maljkovic 2002). The species has also not been sighted during continuing surveys in the highlands of Viti Levu (Monasavu/Nadarivatu) and Sovi Basin (V. Masibalavu in litt. 2012). There are unconfirmed records from the 1980s and 1990s from lowland areas of Ovalau, upland Taveuni and from the Natewa peninsula on Vanua Levu (Watling 2000). However, a second series of surveys in 2003 also failed to find any birds, suggesting marked declines have occurred (G. Dutson in litt. 2003). Given the failure of further surveys to detect this species, it appears to be extremely rare, and its total population may number less than 50 birds (G. Dutson in litt. 2005).

Countries:
Native:
Fiji
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Two detailed surveys in 2001-2002 and 2003 failed to find any birds at all, so the remaining population is likely to be very small (fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals) indeed (G. Dutson in litt. 2005).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found in mature forests and may be reliant on old-growth forest above 500 m (Swinnerton and Maljkovic 2002). However, its altitudinal restriction on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu is probably artificial, reflecting the absence of 'good' forest, except at higher elevations (D. Watling in litt. 2000, Swinnerton and Maljkovic 2002). On Ovalau, it has been observed in mangroves (J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 2000). It is usually found in small flocks high in the canopy feeding on nectar and pollen from flowering trees, and probably roams seasonally in search of this food supply (Watling 1982, Clunie 1984). Its breeding ecology is unknown (Watling 1982).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Lowland and hill forest is slowly being cleared in much of Fiji. However, the rarity and assumed decline of this species is probably largely the result of predation by introduced mammals, especially black rat Rattus rattus, as is the case with the closely-related New Caledonian Lorikeet C. diadema, which could be extinct owing to predation by rats. Ongoing increases in logging and expansion of the road network, especially around the high-altitude areas of Monasavu and Serua in Viti Levu, are likely to be increasing rat density (Watling 2000, G. Dutson in litt. 2005). The introduced Indian brown mongoose Herpestes fuscus is also present in the species's range and may pose a threat (V. Masibalavu in litt. 2012). Agricultural expansion is encroaching on primary forest in Taveuni. Having a montane distribution that is close to the maximum altitude within its range, this species is also potentially susceptible to climate change (BirdLife International unpublished data).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is protected under Fijian law. On Viti Levu, it occurs within the Tomaniivi Nature Reserve, but this is not large enough to maintain a resident population and, although the establishment of the proposed Wabu extension would make a reserve of appropriate size, it would not provide any better protection against rats if the reserve remains unmanaged (D. Watling in litt. 2000). On Taveuni, the combination of the Ravilevu Nature Reserve and the Bouma National Heritage Park provides an area of adequate size for its conservation but the lorikeet remains very rare (D. Watling in litt. 2000). Two management plans have been prepared for the species and discussions on their implementation are ongoing. In 2010, there were plans to facilitate increased observer awareness in the communities local to the Tomaniivi IBA, where local people report seeing the species occasionally, with the hope that the details of any further sightings will be formally recorded (M. O'Brien in litt. 2010).

Conservation Actions Proposed
On Viti Levu, repeat forest surveys around Tomaniivi and assess threats, in particular the degree to which rats have contributed to its decline and what threat they currently pose to remaining populations (SPREP 2000, G. Dutson in litt. 2005). If rats are identified as a major threat to a tiny remnant population considerations should be made for establishing a 'safe' population either in captivity or an appropriate rat-free island. Develop local expertise in survey methodology to enable monitoring (SPREP 2000). Identify further suitable areas for the conservation of this species(SPREP 2000). Survey other islands, notably montane Taveuni (G. Dutson in litt. 2005). Conduct surveys between the peak vunga and drala flowering season, between August and October (Swinnerton and Maljkovic 2002, G. Dutson in litt. 2005).


Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Charmosyna amabilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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