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Pohnpei Lorikeet Trichoglossus rubiginosus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is listed as Near Threatened because its population, the vast majority of which forms one sub-population, is suspected to be in decline owing to land-use changes and off-take for various motivations. It also has a very small range; however, this is unlikely to be declining given the species's adaptability, nor is the population severely fragmented or restricted to a few locations.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

24 cm. Head and upperparts deep maroon, darkest on the head. Scapulars and coverts deep maroon; flight feathers blackish on the inner webs, olive-yellow on the outer webs, yellowest on the outermost primaries. Underwing black. Underparts deep maroon, edged black, giving a slightly barred appearance. Uppertail olive-yellow, getting brighter towards the tip; undertail pale olive-yellow. Bill orange; iris yellow-orange; legs dark grey. Females are told by yellowish bill and greyish-white iris. Immatures have more pointed tail feathers.

Distribution and population
Trichoglossus rubiginosus is endemic to the island of Pohnpei and large forested islets of Ant Atoll, in the eastern Caroline Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (Engbring et al. 1990, del Hoyo et al. 1997). The population was estimated at 88,107 individuals following surveys in 1983-1984 although this was probably an overestimate given the mobility of the species (Engbring et al. 1990). Surveys conducted in 1994 suggested that the species had declined by 74-75% since the early 1980s, probably indicating a real decline (Buden 2000). The current population is thought to exceed 10,000 individuals (Juniper and Parr 1998, M. O'Brien in litt. 2011).

Population justification
Surveys conducted in 1983-1984 yielded an estimate of 88,107 individuals; however, this was probably an overestimate, and surveys in 1994 registered an apparent decline of 74-75%. The current population probably numbers over 10,000 individuals (M. O'Brien in litt. 2011), roughly equivalent to 6,700 mature individuals. Further study is required.

Trend justification
The results of surveys conducted in 1994 suggested that a decline of 74-75% had occurred since 1983 (Buden 2000), and encounter rates per hour recorded during surveys in December 2010 are suggestive of a further decline of c.30% since 1994 (M. O'Brien in litt. 2011); however, surveys in the 1980s and 1990s were undertaken in May, thus comparisons are unreliable. Nevertheless, given that the species faces some moderate threats, it is suspected to be undergoing a slow to moderate decline.

The species is found throughout the island up to c.600 m, occurring in a broad range of habitats including plantations, dense forest, secondary forest, mangroves (Juniper and Parr 1998) and around urban areas (Engbring et al. 1990, J. R. Gilardi in litt. 2011, M. O'Brien in litt. 2011). It feeds on nectar, pollen and fruit, particularly favouring nectar from coral trees Erythrina fusca and mango Mangifera indica fruit, but also noted to favour flowers of coconuts, bananas and Elaeocarpus species (Engbring et al. 1990, Juniper and Parr 1998). The species nests in the tops of coconut palms or in cavities in large trees (Juniper and Parr 1998), but also shows a preference for Xylocarpus mangroves (Engbring et al. 1990). Nesting generally takes place from December to May, although there is evidence of breeding outside this period, and only one egg is laid by each female (Juniper and Parr 1998).

Although the species is known to use a range of habitats, it may have suffered some negative effects from deforestation, which has been rapid. Overall, there was a reduction of undisturbed upland forest on Pohnpei of over 60% from 1975 to 1995 (Buden 1996, 2000, B. Raynor in litt. 1995, 2012). The majority of the island's forests have been to various degrees converted or at least degraded to mixed forest (native species mixed with lowland secondary species), largely attributable to the cultivation of sakau (= kava) Piper methysticum as a major cash-crop (B. Raynor in litt. 2012). The fragmentation of such forest by sakau clearings also introduces and encourages the spread of invasive species in isolated areas throughout the forest. Although efforts over the past 20 years to reduce the amount of clear-cutting for sakau plantations have resulted in the slowing of native forest conversion rates, the trend remains negative (B. Raynor in litt. 2012). There is a history of this species being hunted for food, persecuted for its perceived pest status and superstitious associations, and captured for trade, with the presence of some birds in captivity suggesting that nest poaching is still taking place (J. R. Gilardi in litt. 2010, 2011, M. O'Brien in litt. 2011). Its pest status may be exaggerated, as it apparently only inflicts minor damage on crops such as mangoes (Engbring et al. 1990).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is now the official state bird of Pohnpei and thus killing, trapping and export of the species are illegal (Engbring et al. 1990, Juniper and Parr 1998). Campaigns have been successful at reducing persecution and hunting pressure, as well as forest clearance for agriculture by encouraging cultivation at lower elevations (Buden 2000). However, there has been resistance to the latter because sakau grows better on wet mountain slopes and crops are likely to be safer in more remote areas (Buden 2000). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain an up-to-date population estimate. Monitor trends in the species's population and land use patterns on Pohnpei. Increase the area of primary forest that is protected. Encourage management practices that preserve large trees with holes and cavities and large Xylocarpus mangroves (Engbring et al. 1990.

Buden, D. W. 1996. Rediscovery of the Pohnpei Mountain Starling (Aplonis pelzelni). The Auk 113: 229-230.

Buden, D. W. 2000. A comparison of 1983 and 1994 bird surveys of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Wilson Bulletin 112: 403-410.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Engbring, J.; Ramsey, F. L.; Wildman, V. J. 1990. Micronesian forest bird surveys, the Federated States: Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk, and Yap. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Honolulu.

Juniper, T.; Parr, M. 1998. Parrots: a guide to the parrots of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Raynor, B. 1998. The Pohnpei Community Natural Resource Management Program. Case study for the Sustainable Rural Development Information System.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J., Taylor, J.

Gilardi, J., Gilardi, J., O'Brien, M., Raynor, B.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Trichoglossus rubiginosus. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (Bonaparte, 1850)
Population size 6700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 350 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species