Cyanoramphus subflavescens Salvadori

Lord Howe Island Parakeet (Cyanoramphus subflavescens)

This species was once endemic to the island of Lord Howe in the Tasman Sea off southeastern Australia; it has repeatedly been classified as a subspecies of either the Norfolk Island- (Cyanoramphus cookii (Gray)) or the New Zealand Red-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae (Sparrman)) but is now finally considered a distinct species.

The bird reached a length of about 27 cm and was otherwise quite similar to the two abovementioned, closely related species.

The human settlers on the island didn’t like the parakeet, they considered them to be a pest to their crops and gardens and thus heavily hunted the parakeets … until the species went finally extinct.

The last two birds, apparently a breeding pair, were seen in 1869.:

The parrakeet is said to have existed in very large numbers, doing considerable damage to the crops, and to have gradually disappeared about ten years ago. This would correspond with the date of Mr. Corrie’s observations. Even before this, in 1870, it must have been very scarce, for we find Mr. E. S. Hill observing, “The paraquet also was a nuisance to the cultivators, once appearing in flocks; now I saw but a solitary pair in their rapid flight through the foliage, and recognized them only by their peculiar noise.”” [1]

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The depiction below shows a pair of this species with the male bird in front – these are the only two specimens of the species known to exist at all!

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syn. Cyanoramphus cookii ssp. subflavescens Salvadori, Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae ssp. subflavescens Salvadori

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Depiction from: ‘T. Salvadori: Catalogue of the psittaci, or parrots, in the British Museum. Vol. 20. London 1891’

(public domain)

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edited: 27.02.2024