Charmosyna sp. ‘Tonga’

Tongan Lorikeet (Charmosyna sp.)  

The genus Charmosyna occurs from the easternmost parts of Indonesia to New Guinea and Melanesia as well as to the Fijian Islands. The genus appears to have been more widespread in historical times, and may also have occurred in western Polynesia, as can be assumed from at least two distinct ‘eyewitness’ accounts from the middle of the 19th century, one of them comes from Edgar Leopold Layard, a British diplomat and naturalist, who speaks of a bird he has heard of (so is actually not a real eyewitness account).: 

At Vavaw [Vava’u] I heard of a “small parrot with two long feathers in its tail” which formerly existed in the group, but has become quite extinct.” [1][2]

This account may in fact refer to another account, made some 20 years earlier by Otto von Kotzebue, a Russian officer and navigator in the Imperial Russian Navy, who reports of such a bird he had seen on a ‘market’ on some island in Samoa (possibly Ofu or Olosega in American Samoa).



[1] E. L. Layard: Notes on the Birds of the Navigators’ and Friendly Islands, with some Additions to the Ornithology of Fiji. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 490-506. 1876 
[2] David W. Steadman; Holly B. Freifeld: Distribution, relative abundance, and habitat relationships of landbirds in the Vava’u group, Kingdom of Tonga. Condor 100. 609-628. 1998


edited: 12.02.2020