French Polynesia

TuamotuKingfisher,Niauisland, FrenchPolynesia

The Tuamotu Kingfisher (Todiramphus gambieri) was once found on Mangareva and Niau islands in the Tuamotu group of French Polynesia, but is now restricted to a single population on the island of Niau (16°8’60 S, 146°20’60 W).  The population numbers around 125 individuals and is vulnerable to habitat changes and predation by introduced mammals.  Establishment of the Tuamotu Kingfisher on Makatea Island and on Anaa Atoll were proposed to reduce the chances of the species becoming extinct as a result of a tropical storm or other catastrophic event. The Niau population is monitored annually and a subset of the population is banded for monitoring and demographic studies.  Radio telemetry and survey investigations were conducted from 2005 through 2010 to evaluate habitat association and use at the landscape and home range scales.  Results were used to identify suitable unoccupied habitat, and experimental translocations were conducted to: 1) determine the likelihood of success of re-introducing the kingfishers on Niau; 2) introducing birds to other islands; and 3) to evaluate capture and transport methods for this species.  Between the 23rd February and the 4th March 2010 two adult males, one juvenile male and one adult female were captured and transported from one side of Niau to suitable habitat on the opposite side of the island (approx 6 km).  Birds were radio-marked and intensively tracked post-release.  Movements were compared to similarly marked birds that were re-released on home ranges.  All birds survived the re-introduction.  Outcomes of the study are currently being evaluated.  Contact for this project are Anne Gouni (conservation management) and Dylan Kesler (science).

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