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Makira Moorhen Pareudiastes silvestris
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Justification
This species has not been recorded since 1953 despite recent surveys lasting several weeks, and hunters no longer report the species in areas close to the type locality from where it was known to hunters in 1974. It is likely to have declined as a result of depredation by introduced mammalian predators. However, it cannot be presumed to have gone Extinct because there have been recent credible reports, and further surveys are needed in the Wainoni hills and in the swamps of north Makira. 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 silvestris (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Gallinula.

Synonym(s)
Gallinula silvestris (Mayr, 1933), Gallinula sylvestris Collar and Andrew (1988)

Identification
27 cm. Medium-sized, almost tail-less, flightless rail. Black plumage with bluish gloss on head and neck and brown wash to mantle and wings. Red legs and bill. Blue-grey frontal shield. Similar spp. Spotless Crake Porzana tabuensis much smaller and has black bill. Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio has white undertail-coverts and frontal shield concolorous with bill. Rufous-tailed Water-hen Amaurornis moluccanus has dull greenish bare parts and rusty vent. Voice Unknown. In 2004, calls thought possibly to belong to this species were reported. They were of a cat-like meowing sound mealowl, high in pitch, reptitive, continuous and dropping at the end. Hints Search remote areas with the aid of local hunters.

Distribution and population
Gallinula silvestris is known only from the type-specimen collected in 1929, and a subsequent observation of one in 1953 on Makira (= San Cristobal), Solomon Islands. The 1929 collectors failed to secure more specimens and concluded that the species was already rare (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). In 1953, it was reported to be well-known to guides from Ghoghe village and to be not uncommon (Cain and Galbraith 1956). Hunters in hill villages close to the type locality reported it in 1974, but not in 1990 or subsequently (J. M. Diamond in litt. 1987, Lees 1991, Buckingham et al. 1995, R. James verbally 1998, J. Waihuru verbally 1998, Danielsen et al. 2010). Several weeks have been spent surveying this area without any evidence of the species's survival (Buckingham et al. 1995, R. James verbally 1998), but two unconfirmed reports of birds caught by dogs, in 2001, 2002 and most recently 2005, suggest it may still be extant (R. James in litt. 2003, 2011). Furthermore, unidentified calls heard in 2004 were reported to belong to this species by local people who claimed to see it rarely, while apparently credible reports from the western part of the island in 2008 indicated that villagers were familiar with the species but did not encounter it regularly (C. Collins in litt. 2008).

Population justification
Any surviving population assumed to be tiny (numbering fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals), with no confirmed recent reports, despite several weeks of surveys.

Ecology
The specimen was taken at 600 m and the 1953 sighting was at c.450 m in the central ranges of Makira. Hunters reported that it was flightless but climbed into bushes to escape dogs. These records are from rainforest on steep, rocky hills with many small rivers but no standing water (Cain and Galbraith 1956, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It has been suggested that it may also inhabit the largely unexplored swamps of north Makira (Buckingham et al. 1995), but no evidence of it was found there in a very brief survey in 1998 (G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998).

Threats
It is likely to have declined owing to predation by introduced mammalian predators. Birds were also caught by village hunting-dogs but this was probably an uncommon and unplanned result of hunting for pigs (Cain and Galbraith 1956, Taylor and van Perlo 1998, J. Waihuru verbally 1998). Although most of the lowlands of Makira have been logged or are under logging concessions, forests on steep, rocky slopes are likely to be safe from commercial logging (Danielsen et al. 2010). Introduced fire ants Wasmannia auropunctata, known to attack the eyes of ground-dwelling birds, are likely to have impacted the species (Danielsen et al. 2010). Introduced snakes would likely be a threat to the species, should they become established on Makira.

Conservation Actions Underway
Surveys and interviews with local hunters between 400 m and 1,000 m elevation around Hauta in the central mountain ranges, most recently in 2006, have failed to find evidence of this species (C. Filardi in litt. 2007). The forests of the Hauta region are presently protected under a community sustainable use programme. A local NGO is collaboratively searching for the bird and spreading awareness of its identification, through distribution of pictures and awareness sessions in the provincial capital of Makira-Ulawa, Kirakira (C. Filardi in litt. 2007). Conservation Actions Proposed
Circulate coloured paintings to hunters in inland Makira to gather any information on its survival. Survey uninhabited inland mountains. Encourage tighter controls of commercial logging. Support the continuation and extension of community-based sustainable use programmes in the mountains.

References
Buckingham, D. L.; Dutson, G. C. L.; Newman, J. L. 1995. Birds of Manus, Kolombangara and Makira (San Cristobal) with notes on mammals and records from other Solomon Islands.

Cain, A. J.; Galbraith, I. C. J. 1956. Field notes on the birds of the eastern Solomon Islands. Ibis 98: 100-134, 262-295.

Danielsen, F., Filardi, C.E., Jonsson, K.A., Kohaia, V., Krabbe, N., Kristensen, J.B., Moyle, R.G., Pikacha, P., Poulsen, M.K,. Sørensen, M.K., Tatahu, C., Waihuru, J. and Fjeldså, J. 2010. Endemic avifaunal biodiversity and tropical forest loss in Makira, a mountainous Pacific island. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 31: 100-114.

Lees, A. 1991. A protected forests system for the Solomon Islands. Maruia Society, Nelson, New Zealand.

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

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Pilgrim, J., Stattersfield, A., Martin, R

Contributors
Collins, C., Diamond, J., Dutson, G., Filardi, C., Harker, C., James, R., Waihuru, J., Wilson, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Pareudiastes silvestris. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/10/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/10/2014.

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 (Mayr, 1933)
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