Coenocorypha pusilla 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Charadriiformes Scolopacidae

Scientific Name: Coenocorypha pusilla (Buller, 1869)
Common Name(s):
English Chatham Snipe, Chatham Island Snipe, Chatham Islands Snipe
Taxonomic Source(s): Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.
Identification information: 20 cm. Small, compact, variegated brown snipe. Top of head striped black, brown/reddish-brown. Rest of body mottled black, brown/reddish-brown except for pale lower breast, belly. Voice Male call, low trerk, trerk, trerk and queeyoo, queeyoo, queeyoo.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Bell, B. & Miskelly, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., McClellan, R., Pilgrim, J., Taylor, J.
This species is confined to only four predator-free islands, and has a very small overall range. As such, the accidental introduction of alien species could easily cause its local extinction, and it is therefore classified as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Coenocorypha pusilla is confined to four small, predator-free islands in the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, where it is common and considered stable. It was once widespread throughout the group. The population is estimated at c.900-1,100 pairs. Most of these, 700-800 pairs, are on Rangatira (=South East) Island. The population on Mangere Island (which was reintroduced from Rangatira Island) numbers between 200 and 250 pairs. Birds have recently colonised Little Mangere Island, and a population was recently found on Star Keys (totalling fewer than 50 pairs) (Higgins and Davies 1996, Aikman and Miskelly 2004). Vagrant individuals have been seen on Pitt Island and nearby Rabbit Island (Miskelly et al. 2006).

Countries occurrence:
New Zealand
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:5Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:180
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:4Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):287
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Higgins and Davies (1996) estimated the population to number 700-800 pairs on South East Island, possibly 200-250 pairs on Mangere Island and fewer than 50 pairs on Little Mangere Island and Star Keys. The population is thus estimated to fall within the range 1,800-2,200 mature individuals, roughly equating to 2,700-3,300 individuals in total.

Trend Justification:  Although the historical range of the species was reduced by introduced predators, it now appears to be stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1800-2200Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:4Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:1-89

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It breeds from the shore to island summits, but is most common in Plagianthus chathamicus and Olearia traversi forest. It builds its nests under dense vegetation, and usually lays two eggs (Miskelly 1990, 1999a). It is insectivorous (Higgins and Davies 1996). Its age of first breeding and life expectancy are unknown, but other Coenocorypha snipe can breed at one year of age, and live for up to 17 years (Miskelly 1999b, Miskelly and Sagar 2005).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):5.7
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The historical range of this species was reduced as the result of the introduction of predators such as cats and rats Rattus spp. (Higgins and Davies 1996, Roberts and Miskelly 2003). Birds attempting to colonise neighbouring Pitt Island are killed by cats and Weka Gallirallus australis (introduced following the species extirpation from the main Chatham islands) (C. Miskelly pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
In 1970, the species was successfully reintroduced from Rangatira Island to Mangere Island, after feral cats were eradicated (Aikman and Miskelly 2004). Captive breeding was attempted in 1983 and 1987, but failed (Heather and Robertson 1997, Aikman and Miskelly 2004). However, in 2001 a trial attempt to hold the species in captivity was successful (Miskelly and Barlow 2001).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Reintroduce the species to the predator-fenced portion of Ellen Elizabeth Preece Conservation Covenant on Pitt Island (Colin Miskelly pers. comm., Aikman et al. 2001, Roberts and Miskelly 2003, Aikman and Miskelly 2004).  Develop the captive breeding population to aid in this and future reintroductions and supplementation efforts.  Restore sufficient mammal-free forest areas within the Chatham Islands to allow the species to establish self-sustaining populations that require minimal management (Aikman et al. 2001, Roberts and Miskelly 2003, Aikman and Miskelly 2004).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Coenocorypha pusilla. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22693137A93385774. . Downloaded on 19 July 2018.
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