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Tahiti Reed-warbler

TAHITI REED-WARBLER
Rousserolle à long bec - Photo Jornvall&Shirihai

Rousserolle à long bec – Photo Jornvall&Shirihai


APPEARANCE AND IDENTIFICATION

8 inches. Male and female identical in appearance. This species presents phases of different colours. The light coloured individuals are pale yellow on the belly and head. Crest, wings and tail are slightly darker. A black stripe through the eye, stretches towards the back. Some black areas tend to grey with lighter spots on the belly. The blackest individuals are often confused with the Tahiti Monarch (Pomarea nigra) which is much rarer. The beak of this warbler is particularly elongated. It is brown to black, including the legs (while the Tahiti Monarch’s beak is much shorter, slate grey and white with blue legs).

Rousserolle à long bec (2)@Alain Petit

Rousserolle à long bec@Alain Petit

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Acrocephalidae

CategoryEndemic Birds


LOCATION

Once present in Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea and Huahine. This species of warbler had long been considered extinct in all the islands except in Tahiti. However, testimonies confirmed in 2002 that it was still present in Moorea (Acrocephalus longirostris).


CHARACTERISTICS

Purau groves (Hibiscus tiliaceus) and ofe (Schizostachyum glaucifolium) below 800 meters, often near rivers. Sometimes present in coconut plantations.

Varied whistled notes. This is the most melodious endemic birds still alive on the Tahiti island. “Chrou …” repeated several times as an alarm.

To listen the Tahiti Reed-warbler:
http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Acrocephalus-caffer

Recording by Philippe Raust:

Seeds, insects, lizards and molluscs (snails and slugs) hunted on the ground or in trees.

From July to December with perhaps a second breeding season from February to June. Cup shaped nest of 10 cm diameter. It is located between 3 and 5 meters in height in different trees (ofe, purau). Spawning consists of 2 to 5 pale blue eggs dotted with dark spots.

Rousserolle à long bec_nid@Alain Petit

Rousserolle à long bec_nid@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/418854
http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/species.jsp?avibaseid=EC5497E65E28C422
http://www.oiseaux.net/oiseaux/rousserolle.a.long.bec.html
http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/tahiti-reed-warbler-acrocephalus-caffer
http://www.hbw.com/ibc/species/tahiti-reed-warbler-acrocephalus-caffer
https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/104003523/94428145

NAMES

Scientific Name: Acrocephalus caffer (Sparrman, 1786)

Polynesian Names:
‘Otatare, oma, mamomo (Tahiti), omaomao (Huahine), komako (Moorea), otiotio, manumanu, manu’ofe (Society)

LOCATION
  • Society (Tahiti only)

STATUS AND PROTECTION

The species is threatened of extinction. It is presumed extinct everywhere except in Tahiti and Moorea. Constructions in the Tahitian valleys (hydroelectric dams, roads, riprap, buildings, etc …) cause progressive destruction of its habitat. Introduced species such as rats, cats, Swamp Harrier, Circus approximans, Merle Maluku Acridotheres tristis also contribute to its scarcity. The causes of its extinction on the other islands are unknown.

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