Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Gruiformes Rallidae

Scientific Name: Pareudiastes pacificus
Species Authority: Hartlaub & Finsch, 1871
Common Name(s):
English Samoan Moorhen
Gallinula pacifica (Hartlaub & Finsch, 1871)
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. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Taxonomic Notes: Pareudiastes pacificus (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Gallinula as G. pacifica.
Identification information: 25 cm. Medium-sized, flightless rail. Dark blueish-slate head, neck and breast. Very dark olive-brown upperparts, tinged greenish. Black rump to tail. Yellow bill and frontal shield. Red legs. Similar spp. Half-grown feral chickens have dark bills and no frontal shield. Juvenile Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio is much the same size and colour, but with much longer legs and toes.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Beichle, U., Freifeld, H., Hobcroft, D. & Atherton, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Derhé, M., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A., Symes, A. & Martin, R
This species has not been seen since 1873, and it may have been severely impacted by introduced cats, rats, pigs and dogs, compounded by hunting. However, it cannot be presumed to have gone Extinct, because extensive habitat remains, the species may be nocturnal and hence hard to record, and there were unconfirmed reports in 1987 and 2003. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Critically Endangered (CR)
2010 Critically Endangered (CR)
2009 Critically Endangered (CR)
2008 Critically Endangered (CR)
2004 Critically Endangered (CR)
2000 Critically Endangered (CR)
1996 Critically Endangered (CR)
1994 Critically Endangered (CR)
1988 Extinct (EX)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Pareudiastes pacificus is endemic to Savai`i, Samoa, where it was last recorded in 1873 (Ripley 1977). In 1984 there were two possible sightings in upland forest west of Mt Elietoga (Bellingham and Davis 1988), and in October 2003 a possible sighting of two individuals was made at 990 m on Mount Sili Sili (D. Hobcroft in litt. 2003). A recent survey of the island yielded no record of the species (J. Mittermeier in litt. 2009).

Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 1
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 1
Continuing 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: Any remaining population is assumed to be tiny (numbering fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals), with no definite records since 1873, but two possible sightings in 1987 and another in 2003.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 1-49 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 1 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is restricted to primary montane forest and most probably feeds on invertebrates, including insects. It may dig or live in burrows. One nest is described: it was found on the ground, constructed of a few twigs and some grass, and containing two eggs (Pratt et al. 1987, Bellingham and Davis 1988, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It has exceptionally large eyes and may thus be nocturnal (Taylor and van Perlo 1998).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 5.9
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Cats, rats, pigs and dogs have no doubt contributed to its disappearance, and hunting may also have been a factor as it was formerly a favoured food of the human population (Bellingham and Davis 1988, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Slash-and-burn cultivation threatens remaining areas of upland forest on Savai`i, as farmers use forestry roads from heavily logged lowland forests to gain access to formerly inaccessible land (Bellingham and Davis 1988). Wild cattle and pigs have browsed the understorey and ground-cover along the main range (Bellingham and Davis 1988). In 2000, attempts were being made by sawmill operators to clear-fell the area south of Aopo village, the site where this species was last seen (U. Beichle in litt. 2000). A new road had been apparently bulldozed through the forest into the highlands by 2012 (Butler 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
None are known. A biodiversity survey of Savai`i conducted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) took place in May 2012 which failed to find this species (Butler 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Urgently conduct a survey to find this species and assess its status and conservation needs (SPREP 1999). Protect foothill and upland forest for this and other species in north-west Savai`i (Beichle in prep.). Train local people to do bird surveys, generally involve the community and improve awareness of the species (H. Freifeld in litt. 1999, SPREP 1999). Assess field sites for the study of this and other threatened species on the island (H. Freifeld in litt. 1999). Prevent further access routes into the upper forest being created and investigate the eradication of invasive species, prioritising cats and rats (Butler 2012).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2013. Pareudiastes pacificus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T22692854A49817227. . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
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