Lewinia muelleri


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Lewinia muelleri
Species Authority: (Rothschild, 1893)
Common Name(s):
English Auckland Rail, Auckland Rail
Taxonomic Notes: Lewinia pectoralis and L. muelleri (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) are retained as separate species contra Turbott (1990) who include muelleri as a subspecies of L. pectoralis. This treatment is under review by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Bell, B. & Roberts, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., McClellan, R., Taylor, J.
This species is listed as Vulnerable because it is restricted to a very small range on just two small islands where the accidental introduction of mammals could easily cause its extinction.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Lewinia muelleri is endemic to the Auckland Islands, New Zealand. It was once thought to be extinct but was rediscovered on Adams Island (100 km2) in 1966 and Disappointment Island (4 km2) in 1993. On Adams, where suitable habitat may cover as little as 10% of the island (Elliott et al. 1991), the population is estimated at 1,500 birds (Heather and Robertson 1997). On Disappointment, the population is estimated at more than 500 (Collar et al. 1994). Its status on Ewing Island is unclear, and it may indeed never have occurred there (Elliott et al. 1991). Population numbers are apparently stable (Heather and Robertson 1997).

New Zealand
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total population is estimated at c.2,000 mature individuals, based on estimates published by Collar et al. (1994) and Heather and Robertson (1997).

Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Its preferred habitat consists of coastal and cliff herbfields, Carex grassland, tussock-herbfields and forest. The one clutch seen in the wild consisted of two eggs (Elliott et al. 1991). One juvenile bird caught in the wild lived for nine years in captivity, and ate insects and other invertebrates (Heather and Robertson 1997, Taylor and van Perlo 1998).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although both rail-inhabited islands are predator-free, Auckland Island (a few hundred metres from Adams) supports feral cats, mice and pigs, and therefore the introduction of these animals is a possible threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The islands are nature reserves and part of a World Heritage Site declared in 1998.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain an up-to-date estimate of the population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Eradicate pigs from Auckland Island in the long term (B. D. Bell verbally 1999, A. D. Roberts in litt. 1999). Transfer birds to other suitable pest-free islands in the Auckland Island group (A. D. Roberts in litt. 1999).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Lewinia muelleri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 29 August 2015.
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