Monday 27 February 2012

Rat danger for rare bird filmed

Video footage has captured the moment when an introduced rat steals the eggs of an endangered honeyeater species on Samoa.

The Mao is an endemic honeyeater found in Samoa which is classified as Endangered by BirdLife on behalf of the IUCN Red List, due to it having a small, fragmented range that is shrinking as the quality of its forest habitat diminishes. Unless urgent action is taken, these unique birds have a very high risk of going extinct in the near future.

A new research project is seeking to gather ecological information on the factors that have led to the Mao’s current decline. Leading this research, Rebecca Stirnemann tells BirdLife of some recent video footage that provides new information on the species.

“The Mao is a curious species and by imitating their calls they come down to investigate us. They are wondering if we are another pair which is invading their territory. In this valley in Samoa in the early morning, we can hear a number of Mao making their musical duets.

The Male calls to the female and she trills in response. Then she disappears. We follow her through the forest to a tall tree there in the tall branches is an oval shaped nest. We check it and inside is the single chick monitored constantly by a special nest camera. Footage shows the mother bird is constantly feeding the chick a mix of insects and small geckos.

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