Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Ptilinopus huttoni is endemic to the tiny island of Rapa in the Tubuai Islands, French Polynesia, where its population was estimated at 274 individuals (175-368) in 1989-1990 (Thibault and Varney 1991). Although it is probable that the area of available habitat has diminished during the 20th century and this may have caused a decrease in population, in 1991 there was thought to have been no serious decline since 1974 (Thibault and Varney 1991). The situation now is thought to be much the same (J. Millet in litt. 2007), but the introduction of the Chinese guava Psidium cattleianum may have provided an additional food source and be causing the population to increase, although surveys are needed to confirm this (P. Raust in litt. 2007).

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Range

Rapa I. (Austral Archipelago). Seriously endangered.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Although once thought to be confined to remaining undisturbed forest fragments in valleys and mountains between 40 and 450 m (292 ha in 1991), and not able to utilise coastal vegetation or secondary forest (Thibault and Varney 1991), it has been seen in pine plantations and may feed on the introduced Chinese guava Psidium cattleianum (P. Raust in litt. 2007). It feeds on fleshy fruit and nectar from flowers (Thibault and Varney 1991).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
D1+2

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Symes, A. & Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Millett, J., Raust, P. & Kesler, D.

Justification
This species is classified as Vulnerable because the population is very small and confined to undisturbed forest fragments on one tiny island. However, at present the population appears to be stable.

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Population

Population
A population estimate of 270-274 individuals is taken from figures published in Thibault and Varney (1991). This is roughly equivalent to 180 mature individuals.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
Destruction and degradation of forest by goats, cattle, fires (used to control fernland and increase grazing land) and felling are the main threats. Predation by feral cats and Polynesian rat Rattus exulans are possible threats, while hunting for food by local inhabitants is no longer a threat owing to an improvement in the standard of living on the island (Thibault and Varney 1991).

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
Proposals have been made to protect the Hiri Valley and to consider captive breeding (Thibault and Varney 1991). Guava trees have recently become established on the island, these may reduce the impact of cattle grazing on the species's habitat and provide a new food source (J. Millet in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Re-survey the population. Study the level of use of P. cattleianum and its impacts on occupancy and population trends. Discuss with the local community the possibility of establishing a protected area in the upland forests - if agreement is reached, fence forest remnants to reduce grazing pressure (SPREP 1999). Reduce goat numbers (SPREP 1999). Exclude fires from upland areas (SPREP 1999). Consider the possibility of translocation to another island to establish a second population (SPREP 1999). Investigate the impact of cats and rats on the species, and take precautions to prevent invasion by black rat Rattus rattus. As a precaution, establish a captive population.

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Wikipedia

Rapa fruit dove

The Rapa fruit dove (Ptilinopus huttoni) is a species of bird in the Columbidae family. It is endemic to French Polynesia. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss. It is one of the fifty rarest birds in the world.[1]

References[edit]

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