Tag Archives: Charmosyna

Charmosyna sp. ‘Samoa’

Samoan Lorikeet (Charmosyna sp.)  

The Samoan Lorikeet is a hypothetical species that might in fact once have existed, it is, however, not fully understood if it was a native form of the Samoan Islands, or if it may have also occurred on the Tongan Islands as well, or if it might have originted from somewhere else and was just traded among these island groups. [2]

All we know about this very enigmatic form comes from a single account, made by Otto von Kotzebue, a Russian officer and navigator in the Imperial Russian Navy, in the early 19th century; his reports, however, are otherwise incredibly contemptuous, inhumane and racist and speak of the local Polynesian people as cannibals and wild, blood-thirsty almost-animals etc..:

Noch eines Handelsartikels auf unserem Markte muß ich erwähnen. Es waren gezähmte Tauben und Papageyen. Erstere weichen von den europäischen sowohl in der Form, als in der Farbenpracht sehr ab. Auch waren ihre Klauen, mit denen sie sich, wie Spechte, an die Taue haften, anders gestaltet. Die Papagayen waren nur von der Größe eines Sperlings, mit dem lebhaftesten Roth und Grün gezeichnet, und der rothe Schweif übertraf an Länge den Körper wohl um vier Mal.” [1]

translation:

One more item on our market I have to mention. These were tamed pigeons and parrots. The former differ markedly from the European ones in their form and in their colorfulness. Their claws, with which they, like woodpeckers, cling to the ropes, were also designed differently. The parrots were only the size of a sparrow, painted with the most vivid red and green, and the red tail was perhaps four times longer than the body.

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The specific account apparently was made on or offshore an island named Olajava, according to the description given by Kotzebue I personally think that the island in question is the one today known as Ofu in American Samoa. 

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Referenzen:  

[1] Otto von Kotzebue: Reise um die Welt in den Jahren 1823, 24, 25 und 26. Weimar: W. Hoffman 1830
[2] Julian P. Hume: Extinct Birds: Bloomsbury Natural History; 2nd edition 2017

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edited: 12.02.2020

Charmosyna diadema (Verreaux & Des Murs)

New Caledonian Lorikeet (Charmosyna diadema)

The New Caledonian Lorikeet, as its name implies, was endemic to the island of Grande Terre, the main island of New Caledonia, the species is known from only two specimens, both female, both collected sometimed prior 1860, one of which is now lost.

The species reached a size of about 18 to 19 cm.

The New Caledonian Lorikeet appears to be extremely rare and confined, but may in fact already be extinct since the time of its discovery.

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Depiction from: St. George Jackson Mivart: A monograph of the lories, or brush-tongued parrots, composing the family Loriidae. London: R. H. Porter 1896

(not in copyright)

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edited: 12.02.2020

Charmosyna amabilis (Ramsay)

Red-throated Lorikeet (Charmosyna amabilis)  

This small, mainly green colored bird is deemed to be the rarest parrot of the Fiji Islands, where it formerly inhabited the islands of Ovalau, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, and Viti Levu.  

The Red-throated Lorikeet reached a size of 18 cm, its biology is virtually unknown, the same applies to its breeding behavior, the size of the clutch and similar data. The species is, resp. was known to the natives of the Fijian islands by several names, including Mihi (?), Kula, Kulawai, and Talaki ni medra wai na kula.  

The Red-throated Lorikeet was last found only in the higher regions at Mt. Tomanivi on the island of Viti Levu, the largest of the Fijian Islands, where it was last recorded in the year 1993, it is now most probably extinct. [1][2][3][4]

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References:  

[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] H. Douglas Pratt, Phillip L. Bruner, Delwyn G. Berrett: A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press 1987 
[3] Tony Juniper; Mike Parr: Parrots; A Guide to Parrots of the World. Yale University Press 1998 
[4] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University Of Chicago Press 2006

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Depiction from: ‘G. D. Rowley: The Birds of the Fiji Islands. Ornithological Miscellany 1: 259-262. 1876’  

(public domain)

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edited: 12.02.2020

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).

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Referenzen:  

[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

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edited: 12.02.2020