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Silktail Lamprolia victoriae

This species is classified as Near Threatened because it has a moderately small population within a very small range, and numbers are declining owing to losses of mature forest through continuing logging, plantation establishment and clearing for agriculture. However, the range is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations. For these reasons, the species is classified as Near Threatened. If further studies show that the population is smaller than currently thought or it is declining rapidly, an uplisting to Vulnerable may be warranted.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

12 cm. Small, striking, iridescent black monarch with conspicuous white rump. Deep velvet-black with metallic blue spangling on head, nape, throat and breast. Rump is silky white, extending over greater part of the tail. Long wings and short tail. Vanua Levu subspecies kleinschmidti considerably larger and more strongly irridescent. Voice Loud whistles, whistling trill and low, rasping squeaks. Hints Restless bird, with a swift, darting flight. Can be seen in any mature forest on Taveuni and in the Natewa peninsula of Vanua Levu.

Distribution and population
Lamprolia victoriae is endemic to Fiji, being common and widespread on Taveuni (nominate victoriae) but highly localised on Vanua Levu (subspecies kleinschmidti), where it is restricted to the Natewa Peninsula and does not occur in remaining apparently suitable habitat in the south-east (J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 1998). In 1973 and 1975, it was readily found in groups of 2-5 (Heather 1977). In 1990, a total of 235 birds were located (Thorpe et al. 1990). More recently, its population in the Natewa Peninsula was estimated at 3,000-6,000 pairs (J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 2000). On Taveuni, where relatively little forest has been lost, 5,000-8,000 pairs were estimated in 2000 (G. Dutson in litt. 2005).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 16,000-28,000 individuals in total, roughly equating to 11,000-19,000 mature individuals (J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 2000).

Trend justification
Declines owing to losses of mature forest through continuing logging, plantation establishment and clearing for agriculture are not so severe as previously feared, because the rate of conversion of old-growth native forest to mahogany plantations has slowed significantly; the rate of forest loss is estimated to be 0.5-0.8 % p.a (Claasen 1991), equating to 7-11% over 15 years (unpublished data from Fiji IBA project via G. Dutson in litt. 2005).

It inhabits wet, mature rainforest, forest pockets, logged forest and (at lower densities) plantations close to intact forest (Thorpe et al. 1990, J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 1998). It feeds on small arthropods and worms in the leaf-litter and insects in the lower canopy (Clunie 1984). On Vanua Levu, it occupies similar feeding zones to those of Fiji Shrikebill Clytorhynchus vitiensis, this overlap resulting in the larger C. vitiensis displacing the smaller L. victoriae and perhaps contributing to its rarity whilst, on Taveuni, it mainly occupies the undergrowth, thus reducing competition with C. vitiensis (Langham 1989).

On Vanua Levu, the Natewa Peninsula is already extensively logged and habitat continues to be lost due to logging, clearance for agriculture and conversion of logged forest to exotic plantations (Thorpe et al. 1990). Exploitation of existing mature mahogany plantations is a further risk (J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 1998). Although the rate of conversion of old-growth native forest to mahogany plantations has slowed significantly, with the rate of forest loss estimated to have returned to the underlying rate of 0.5-0.8 % per annum (Claasen 1991), it has nevertheless been estimated that c.100-130 km2 of the existing range could be lost within the next 10 years (J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 2000). On Taveuni, there was some logging during the 1990s and forest continues to be cleared for agriculture, albeit slowly (Watling 2000).

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is protected under Fijian law. On Vanua Levu, a Silktail reserve has been proposed (Lees 1989, Thorpe et al. 1990, J. S. Kretzschmar in litt. 1998); however, it has not been gazetted and parts of it are being converted to mahogany plantation (D. Watling in litt. 2000). On Taveuni, it occurs in the established but unmanaged Ravilevu Nature Reserve and in the Bouma National Heritage Park. Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine population size and trends, incorporating training of people from local communities in survey techniques. In the Natewa Peninsula, advocate the cessation of mahogany planting. Implement the existing reserve proposal and raise awareness of the threat to the species within local communities (SPREP 2000). On Taveuni, initiate management in the Ravilevu Nature Reserve (D. Watling in litt. 2000).

Claasen, D. R. 1991. Deforestation in Fiji: National environment management plan report 2.

Clunie, F. 1984. Birds of the Fiji bush. Fiji Museum, Suva.

Heather, B. D. 1977. The Vanua Levu Silktail (Lamprolia victoriae kleinschmidti): a preliminary look at its status and habits. Notornis 24: 94-128.

Langham, N. P. 1989. The stratification of passerines in Fijian forests. Notornis 36: 267-279.

Lees, A. 1989. A representative national parks and reserves system for Fiji's tropical forests. Draft version prepared for the approval of the Fiji Native Land Trust Board, Ministry of Tourism, and National Trust for Fiji.

SPREP. 2000. Proceedings of the Melanesian Avifauna Conservation Workshop, Nadi, Fiji, 5-10 March, 2000.

Thorpe, R.; Miller, N.; Montgomery, P. 1990. A proposed Fauna Reserve for the Vanua Levu Silktail, Fiji Islands.

Watling, D. 2000. Conservation status of Fijian birds. Technical Group 2 Report - Fiji Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

Text account compilers
Khwaja, N., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A., Temple, H.

Dutson, G., Kretzschmar, J., Watling, D.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Lamprolia victoriae. Downloaded from on 14/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 14/07/2014.

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 Near Threatened
Family Monarchidae (Monarchs)
Species name author Finsch, 1874
Population size 11000-19000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 660 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species