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Samoan Moorhen Pareudiastes pacificus
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This species has not been seen since 1873, and it may have been severely impacted by introduced cats, rats, pigs and dogs, compounded by hunting. However, it cannot be presumed to have gone Extinct, because extensive habitat remains, the species may be nocturnal and hence hard to record, and there were unconfirmed reports in 1987 and 2003. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered.

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.

Taxonomic note
Pareudiastes pacificus (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Gallinula as G. pacifica.

Gallinula pacifica (Hartlaub & Finsch, 1871)

25 cm. Medium-sized, flightless rail. Dark blueish-slate head, neck and breast. Very dark olive-brown upperparts, tinged greenish. Black rump to tail. Yellow bill and frontal shield. Red legs. Similar spp. Half-grown feral chickens have dark bills and no frontal shield. Juvenile Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio is much the same size and colour, but with much longer legs and toes.

Distribution and population
Gallinula pacifica is endemic to Savai`i, Samoa, where it was last recorded in 1873 (Ripley 1977). In 1984 there were two possible sightings in upland forest west of Mt Elietoga (Bellingham and Davis 1988), and in October 2003 a possible sighting of two individuals was made at 990 m on Mount Sili Sili (D. Hobcroft in litt. 2003). A recent survey of the island yielded no record of the species (J. Mittermeier in litt. 2009).

Population justification
Any remaining population is assumed to be tiny (numbering fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals), with no definite records since 1873, but two possible sightings in 1987 and another in 2003.

It is restricted to primary montane forest and most probably feeds on invertebrates, including insects. It may dig or live in burrows. One nest is described: it was found on the ground, constructed of a few twigs and some grass, and containing two eggs (Pratt et al. 1987, Bellingham and Davis 1988, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It has exceptionally large eyes and may thus be nocturnal (Taylor and van Perlo 1998).

Cats, rats, pigs and dogs have no doubt contributed to its disappearance, and hunting may also have been a factor as it was formerly a favoured food of the human population (Bellingham and Davis 1988, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Slash-and-burn cultivation threatens remaining areas of upland forest on Savai`i, as farmers use forestry roads from heavily logged lowland forests to gain access to formerly inaccessible land (Bellingham and Davis 1988). Wild cattle and pigs have browsed the understorey and ground-cover along the main range (Bellingham and Davis 1988). In 2000, attempts were being made by sawmill operators to clear-fell the area south of Aopo village, the site where this species was last seen (U. Beichle in litt. 2000). A new road had been apparently bulldozed through the forest into the highlands by 2012 (Butler 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
None are known. A biodiversity survey of Savai`i conducted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) took place in May 2012 which failed to find this species (Butler 2012).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Urgently conduct a survey to find this species and assess its status and conservation needs (SPREP 1999). Protect foothill and upland forest for this and other species in north-west Savai`i (Beichle in prep.). Train local people to do bird surveys, generally involve the community and improve awareness of the species (H. Freifeld in litt. 1999, SPREP 1999). Assess field sites for the study of this and other threatened species on the island (H. Freifeld in litt. 1999). Prevent further access routes into the upper forest being created and investigate the eradication of invasive species, prioritising cats and rats (Butler 2012).

Beichle, U. and Baumann, S. 2003. Die Landvoegel der Samoa-Inseln. TenDenZen 1-2: 1-156.

Bellingham, M.; Davis, A. 1988. Forest bird communities in Western Samoa. Notornis 35: 117-128.

Butler, D. 2012. Report on the birds of upland Savai"i. In: Atherton, J. and Jeffries, B. (eds), Rapid Biodiversity Assessment of upland Savai"i, Samoa. SPREP, Apia, Samoa.

Pratt, H. D.; Bruner, P. L.; Berrett, D. G. 1987. A field guide to the birds of Hawaii and the tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Ripley, S. D. 1977. Rails of the world. M. F. Feheley, Toronto.

SPREP. 1999. Proceedings of the Polynesian Avifauna Conservation Workshop held in Rarotonga, 26-30 April 1999.

Taylor, B. 1998. Rails: a guide to the rails, crakes, gallinules and coots of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

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
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Derhé, M., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A., Symes, A., Martin, R

Beichle, U., Freifeld, H., Hobcroft, D., Atherton, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pareudiastes pacificus. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

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 Critically Endangered
Family Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, Coots)
Species name author (Hartlaub & Finsch, 1871)
Population size 1-49 mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species