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New Caledonian Lorikeet

 (Charmosyna diadema)
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© John Gerard Keulemans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Project Status: Completed | 2002

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CEPA

Tiny lorikeet facing extinction

The New Caledonian Lorikeet (Charmosyna diadema) has not been reliably sighted since 1913.

Project progress: In 2002 WPT funded the research of a team in New Caledonia charged with the task of locating the lorikeet, and if not found, to study two other species, the New Caledonian Parakeet and the Horned Parakeet.

Outcomes:  This lorikeet has not been located despite consistent efforts in interviewing local people for sightings and surveying different areas of the island.  Funding was made available to carry on surveys and studies until 2011. Two recent reviews of the species' situation have discovered that the Mt Panié massif reserve should be upgraded to a special faunal and floral reserve.  Mts Colnett and Ignambi to the north should also be added, to form one continuous section of forest.

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IUCN/CITES Status: Critically Endangered / Appendix II

World population: <50

Where found: New Caledonia, Melanesia.

History: The New Caledonian Lorikeet is known from two specimens collected in 1859 from an unknown area and 1913 on Mt. Ignambi on New Caledonia (Sarasin 1913, Forshaw 1989).  There are reports, mainly unconfirmed, from the 1880s to the 1920s (Layard and Layard 1882, Stokes 1980), and 1953 or 1954 in the central mountains and in 1976, west of Mt Panié (Stokes 1980). In 1998 an extensive search found no birds, and no new records were obtained during 500 days of bird surveys between 2002 and 2007 (J. Theuerkauf, S. Rouys and V. Chartendrault in litt. 2007). Over a hundred locals interviewed between 2003 and 2006 did not provide any credible reports (J. Theuerkauf, S. Rouys and V. Chartendrault in litt. 2007).

Threats:

  • Disappearance of lowland semi-deciduous forests (Ekstrom et al. 2000, Ekstrom et al. 2002)
  • Possible introduced disease (such as avian malaria)
  • Introduced mammals (notably rats) (Bregulla 1992, Ekstrom et al. 2000, Ekstrom et al. 2002)

Ecology: Reports early on indicated that this lorikeet lived in forest and sometimes fed in Erythina trees (Layard and Layard 1882).  It is thought that it and closely-related Charmosyna range into lowland forests from mountain forest, depending on the season (Forshaw 1989).


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