Porphyrio sp. ‘Tahiti’

Tahiti ‘Goose’ (Porphyrio sp.)

There is a nearly unknown contemporaneous account from the 18th century by James Morrison, boatswain’s mate on board on the infamous ‘Bounty’ who mentiones an enigmatic bird.:

… the mountains produce birds of different kinds unknown to us, among which are a large bird nearly the size of a goose, which is good food;  they are never observed near the sea nor in the low lands.

This mysterious, nearly goose-sized bird very likely was a rail, perhaps from the genus Porphyrio, which is known to have produced a radiation of numerous species all over Oceania. 



[1] J. M. Derscheid: An unknown species – the Tahitian Goose. Ibis 81: 756-760. 1939


edited: 18.05.2019