Eunymphicus uvaeensis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Eunymphicus uvaeensis
Species Authority: (Layard, 1882)
Common Name(s):
English Ouvea Parakeet
Taxonomic Notes: Eunymphicus cornutus (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into E. cornutus and E. uvaeensis following Juniper and Parr (1998).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Barré, N., Primot, P., Robinet, O., Spaggiari, J. & Verfaille, L.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Mahood, S.
This species qualifies as Endangered because it occupies a very small, declining area of forest on just one small island. A conservation programme has resulted in it becoming well known and celebrated as the island emblem. Although its population is currently increasing, any relaxation of current conservation efforts or introduction of rats could lead to a rapid decline and reclassification to a higher category of threat.

2012 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Eunymphicus uvaeensis is restricted to Uvea, New Caledonia (to France), where most birds occur in c.20 km2 of forest in the north, although c.60 km2 of habitat remains (Robinet et al. 1996). Earlier population estimates have been alarmingly low, but populations in the north and south of the island are regularly surveyed (six times since 1993) and data show a steady increase in both areas (L. Verfaille in litt. 2007). The population has steadily increased from an estimated c.600 birds in 1993 (Robinet et al. 1996) and 824 birds in 1999 (Primot 1999) to 2,090 birds in 2009 (Barré et al. 2010). Mean population density on Uvea has been estimated at 34 birds/ km2, with density being highest in the north, where it reaches 57 birds/ km2 (Barré et al. 2010). The introductions to the adjacent island of Lifu in 1925 and 1963 failed (Robinet et al. 1995).

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

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,090 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 3,100-3,200 individuals in total.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It feeds in forest and on crops in adjacent cultivated land. It is restricted to areas of old-growth forest with nesting holes, but highest numbers occur close to gardens with papaya. An average of 2.9 eggs are laid in one or two clutches per year, of which 1.7 chicks fledge, but only 0.75 fledglings survive to 30 days (Robinet et al. 1995, Robinet et al. 1996, Robinet and Salas 1999).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Primary forest has declined in extent by 30-50% in the last 30 years. There is an ongoing illicit pet trade, mostly for the domestic market (Primot 2000). Nesting holes are cut open to extract the nestlings, rendering them unsuitable for future breeding attempts and a lack of nesting sites is believed to be a limiting factor. However, the continuous presence of local guides is believed to be effectively preventing nest poaching (Barré et al. 2010). The invasion of the island in 1996 by bees, which compete for tree holes, is a significant threat, with 10-16% of known nests being occupied by bees in 2000-2002 (N. Barré in litt. 2003). The native Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus, and perhaps other predators, are believed to take many juveniles (Robinet et al. 1996, N. Barré in litt. 1999, P. Primot in litt. 1999, Robinet and Salas 1999). Suitable habitat is patchy and fragmented mainly as a result of coconut plantations, which do not afford protection from predation by A. fasciatus and so act as barriers to dispersal, possibly explaining the lack of recolonisation of suitable habitat in southern Uvea (Robinet et al. 2003). Experimental egg-predation rates were four times higher on Lifu where Black Rat Rattus rattus occurs (currently absent on Uvea) (Robinet et al. 1998). Competition with the introduced Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus is possible, however this species is restricted to open habitats and coconut plantations along the coast where Uvea parakeet does not breed and is therefore doubtful, except for introduced papaya which is favoured by both species (L. Verfaille in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. The Association for the Protection of the Ouvéa Parakeet (ASPO) was created in 1993 with mostly local members. the ASPO initiatied a long-term study of the biology and ecology of the species as a basis for two recovery plans (1997-2002 and 2003-2008). Forest loss is being addressed through community awareness programmes and trials to mitigate habitat degradation and improve forest quality, particularly with regard to nest-sites. Ten guides are employed, who, amongst other duties, locate nests. Illegal trade is being successfully tackled by increased awareness and law enforcement. A captive-breeding programme has been discussed but not yet started, with the species occuring only in small numbers in captivity with very limited breeding success (Robinet 1996).  A translocation programme to restock the south of Uvea was initiated in 1998, and this population now stands at 82 individuals (Primot 1999). The need to control predators established on Uvea is being investigated and measures to minimise the chance of colonisation by rats are being strengthened (Robinet and Salas 1997, P. Primot in litt. 1999, Primot 2000, L. Verfaille in litt. 2007). An updated Recovery Plan was produced in 2003, recommending amongst other things that the translocation program be cancelled, as the population is considered viable and will grow naturally; this Recovery plan has been accepted by the local native authorities (N. Barré in litt. 2003, Anon 2004). Uvea has been classified as an IBA, but a management plan and a protection programme involving communities still needs to be established (Spaggiari et al. 2007). SCO obtained funds from the British Birdwatching Fair to build and test PCV artificial nests them after the failure of the wooden nest trails. ASPO staff destroyed or removed 187 bee colonies during 2002-2008 (L. Verfaille in litt. 2007, Barré et al. 2010). The continuous presence of local guides is believed to be effectively preventing nest poaching (Barré et al. 2010).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue population monitoring (Primot 2000). Research interactions with Trichoglossus haematodus. Investigate non-usage of artificial nest-sites. Review and strengthen measures reducing the risk of rat colonisation. Assess progress and update plans for translocations. Review and update all aspects of Action Plan. Maintain momentum of community and island awareness and involvement (Robinet and Salas 1997). Establish an IBA project on Uvea and fund a protection programme (N. Barré in litt. 2003). Initiate a captive breeding programme to support future reintroductions.

Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Eunymphicus uvaeensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 04 September 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided