Stephen’s Lorikeet


Stephen’s Lorikeet 19cm; 42–55 g. Similar to V. kuhlii but lacks purplish-blue nape and has broken green breastband, less bright rump, and longer, wedge-shaped all-yellowish tail. Immature has mostly green underparts.

Stephen's Lorikeet

Stephen’s Lorikeet

Systematics History

Monotypic.

Subspecies

Monotypic.

Distribution

Henderson I, in the Pitcairn Group (E Polynesia).

Habitat

Native forest, which covers the island.

Movement

Sedentary.

Diet and Foraging

A variety of food types, including nectar, pollen, fruit, and insect larvae, from canopy level in coconut palms to ground-level shrubs, species involved being: nectar and/or pollen from Scaevola sericeaTimonius polygamus (these two the key plants), CyclophyllumXylosma suaveolensThespesia populneaCordia subcordataPsydraxSenecioCocos nucifera and Pandanus tectorius, fruits of Eugenia rare floraNesoluma st-johnianumGuettardia speciosa and Timonius polygamus, “juice” of Caesalpinia leaves, and lepidopteran larvae from the sporangia of Phymatosorus ferns.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

The commonest call is a fast trisyllabic (or modulated) “tsililit” given when perched. In-flight, a similar but more piercing “tseet!”.

Breeding

No information except specimens with developing gonads was collected in Apr, and a female had an enlarged ovary in May.

Conservation Status

VULNERABLE. CITES II. A BirdLife “restricted-range” species. Numbers were estimated in 1987 at 720–1820 birds and in 1992 at 2400 birds.

Population essentially secure so long as no settlement of its 37km² sole home is attempted, bringing with it the increased chance of colonization by black rats (Rattus rattus); one such attempt was headed off in 1983.


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Amanda