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Tahiti Monarch

TAHITI MONARCH

Photo 1: Fred Jacq – Photo 2: Thomas Ghestemme – Photo 3: Caroline Blanvillain


APPEARANCE AND IDENTIFICATION
Jeune Monarque de Tahiti - Photo Alain Petit

Jeune Monarque de Tahiti @ Alain Petit

6 inches. The plumage do not identify the sex of the bird. Adults over four years are uniformly black. Its beak is blue slate pulling to the white and its legs are blue. Birds below two years of age are orange with a spout that changes from yellow to grey. With age, brown and black spots appear on the plumage. Firstly located on the back and wings, they extend gradually over the entire body.

Video and photos from Alain PETIT

The birds gradually become entirely black, the last light areas being located on the head and stomach.

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Monarchidae

Category: Endemic Birds


LOCATION

Only Tahiti.


CHARACTERISTICS

Once present in highland forests (Mount Marau), in the valleys and on the coastline of the island. The species only persists in three valleys of the districts of Punaauia and Paea and in some areas of medium altitude (200-500 meters). The species adapts itself in areas heavily colonized by Tulip of Gabon (Spathodea campanulata) and piti (Tecoma stans).

Couple de Monarque de Tahiti©Alain Petit

Couple de Monarque de Tahiti©Alain Petit

Short and strong calls at 4-5 different tones, he sings to defend a vast forest area of several hectares. The calls of these birds vary from one valley to another. Both sexes have loud call of alarm and sound like “tchip-tchip-tchip-tchip …” in case of danger or high excitement.

To listen the Tahiti Monarch:
http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Pomarea-nigra

Editing made in 2017 by Alain Petit from various recordings of songs of Tahiti:

Insects caught in flight, trees and shrubs, ground and in ferns, spiders.

These birds build nests from August to February in which they lay a single egg that hatches after 13-14 days. The young remain in the nest for about two weeks. He is raised by both parents for more than two months after its first flight.

A little humor below thanks to the video directed by Alain Petit!


Original text by Caroline BLANVILLAIN – Supplements and update by various members of the SOP Manu.

Bibliography:
https://inpn.mnhn.fr/espece/cd_nom/418875
http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/species.jsp?avibaseid=3B79D9464D4221B0
http://www.oiseaux.net/oiseaux/monarque.de.tahiti.html
http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/tahiti-monarch-pomarea-nigra
http://www.hbw.com/ibc/species/tahiti-monarch-pomarea-nigra
https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22707178/130909526

NAMES

Scientific Name: Pomarea nigra (Sparrman, 1786)

Polynesian Names:
‘Omama’o (Tahiti), ‘omama’o-uri (adult/ Tahiti), ‘omama’o-pua-fau (juvenile/ Tahiti)

LOCATION
  • Society (only Tahiti)

STATUS AND PROTECTION

The species is critically endangered. The high predation on eggs by black rats is the essential threat. In addition, two species of introduced birds ( Common Myna and Red-vented Bulbul) attack the young and adults during the breeding season and cause the failure of nesting. A direct predation on chicks and eggs by Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) was observed. Moreover, the gradual invasion of traditional habitat of the Monarch by the Miconia (Miconia calvescens) is a worrying threat.
This is one of the priority programs for the SOP as the ‘Ōmāma’o is one of the most threatened birds of French Polynesia. It is seen in more than three valleys of Tahiti and is subject since 1998 to a backup program through rodent control and close monitoring of all individuals living in accessible areas during the period of reproduction (July-March) for successful brood.

The fight against the introduced birds and the gradual inclusion of a population living beyond several waterfalls in Maruapo valley have significantly rejuvenate the population. It brought great hope for the survival of the species.

Over the last 20 years, more than 50 young individuals survived and helped increasing the population which reached around 79 adults at the beginning of 2018.

The species is listed in category A of the list of species protected by the territorial regulations of French Polynesia.
It is classified as “Critically Endangered” (CR) on the IUCN Red List.