This species formerly occurred on three islands, but survives on only one tiny island where its very small population is apparently stable, but still at risk from habitat degradation by sheep and predation by cats. It therefore qualifies as Endangered.
Cibois, A.; Thibault, J.-C.; Pasquet, E. 2004. Biogeography of Eastern Polynesian Monarchs (Pomarea): an endemic genus close to extinction. Condor 106: 837-851.
Distribution and populationPomarea mendozae
Pomarea mendozae (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into P. mendozae, P. mira and P. nukuhivae following Cibois et al. (2004).
was formerly widespread in the central Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
, occurring as two subspecies on three islands. On Hiva Oa, the now-extinct nominate mendozae
was common in 1921 and 1922, and was last seen in March 1975, when only one individual was seen despite several weekly field searches. It was not seen in 1990, 1996 or in 2000 (Thibault and Meyer 2001), and two recent records of single birds (Anon. 1999) are considered erroneous. The subspecies also occurred on Tahuata. It was apparently common in 1922 but it was not found in 1975 or 1990 (Thibault and Meyer 2001). The species survives only on Mohotani, where the population of subspecies motanensis
was estimated at 200-350 pairs in 1975 (Holyoak and Thibault 1984) and, although only 80-125 pairs in 2000, it was considered stable at 4-5 pairs/10 ha in Pisonia
forest (the apparent difference being due to discrepancies in estimates of island size and forest-cover) (Thibault and Meyer 2001). In 2006, the island was revisited and the population appeared to be healthy (P. Raust in litt.
2007). In 2007, 50 individuals were observed during a survey of the island, roughly corresponding with earlier estimates by Thibault and Meyer (2001) and indicating that the population is stable (A. Gouni and Y. Allanic via P. Raust in litt.
The population was estimated at 80-125 pairs in 2000, with 4-5 pairs/10 ha in Pisonia
forest (Thibault and Meyer 2001) i.e. 160-250 mature individuals.Trend justification
The population appeared healthy in 2006 (P. Raust in litt. 2007) and is suspected to be stable.Ecology
This mainly insectivorous species occurred in forested valleys at high elevations and in degraded forest at all altitudes (probably originally preferring lowland forests which are now destroyed). On Mohotani, it is found in dry forest with Pisonia grandis
(Holyoak and Thibault 1984)
. Adults apparently prefer areas of dense, luxuriant vegetation while immatures often frequent shrubby vegetation in dry areas (Holyoak and Thibault 1984)
On Mohotani, feral cats Felis catus
are a threat and, to a lesser extent, Polynesian rat Rattus exulans
, as well as intense grazing by feral sheep (Seitre and Seitre 1991, 1992). All the Marquesas Islands have been devastated by intense grazing and fire, and much of the original dry forest has been reduced to grassland, and upland forest to relict forest patches. On all islands, introduced species have been a threat, especially black rat Rattus rattus
and (which is not present on Mohotani), on Hiva Oa, introduced birds such as the predatory Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
and the very competitive Common Myna Acridotheres tristis. Conservation Actions Underway
Mohotani has been protected since 1968. However, the banning of hunting has resulted in serious degradation by an increasing population of feral sheep (SPREP 1999). Preparation of a management plan, involving people from nearby islands (sheep hunters and wood carvers) has begun (P. Raust in litt.
2007). Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out regular surveys to monitor population trends. Consider possibilites of translocation and the establishment of a captive breeding population. On Mohotani, eliminate or control feral sheep if socially acceptable (SPREP 1999)
. If it is not possible to reduce sheep numbers, fence part of the island to prevent grazing and allow habitat regeneration/restoration (SPREP 1999)
. Eradicate cats (SPREP 1999)
. Take precautions to prevent invasion by black rat R. rattus
. Eradicate B. virginianus
and A. tristis
Anon. 1998. Perdu: le Monarque Marquisien a Ua Pou et Nuku Hiva. Te Manu 24: 1-2.
Anon. 1999. Monarque Marquisien (Pomarea mendozae) a Hiva Oa. Te Manu 29.
Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.
Holyoak, D. T.; Thibault, J. -C. 1984. Contribution à l'étude des oiseaux de Polynésie orientale. Memoires du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle - Serie A: Zoologie 127: 1-209.
Seitre, R.; Seitre, J. 1992. Causes of land-bird extinctions in French Polynesia. Oryx 26: 215-222.
SPREP. 1999. Proceedings of the Polynesian Avifauna Conservation Workshop held in Rarotonga, 26-30 April 1999.
Thibault, J.-C.; Meyer, J.-Y. 2001. Contemporary extinction and population declines of the monarchs (Pomarea spp.) in French Polynesia, South Pacific. Oryx 35: 73-80.
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)
View photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Derh, M., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A., Khwaja, N.
Raust, P., Allanic, Y., Gouni, A.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Pomarea mendozae. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 09/12/2013.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 09/12/2013.
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
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