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resume/Watling1995

Author: Watling, Dick
Year: 1995
Title: Notes on the status of Kuhl’s lorikeet, Vini kuhlii in the Northern Line Islands, Kiribati.
Journal: Bird Conservation International
Volume: 5
Pages: 481-489

Abstract: Kuhl’s Lorikeet Vini kuhlii has a precarious status reflected by its disjunct distribution in the Pacific, with surviving populations in the Northem Line (Kiribati) and Austral Islands (French Polynesia) some 3,000 km apart, possibly as a result of Polynesian trade in red feathers. The species is extinct in the southem Cook Islands. On Rimatara (Austral Islands), where it is believed indigenous, it is still common but the recent introduction of the Rattus norvegicus is of concem. In the Northem Line Islands, R. rattus appears to have all but extirpated the lorikeet on Tabuaeran (Fanning Island), but one small population has apparently survived for over 70 years, an explanation for which may guide in situ conservation of Vini lorikeets on ship-rat-infested-Islands elsewhere. The arid and unpredictable climate of Kiritimati (Christmas Island) may preclude the establishment of lorikeets. Only on Teraina (Washington Island), where over 1,000 V. kuhlii survive, are there no confirmed threats and good in situ conservation potential.