The Polynesian Region
The Polynesian Region comprises the largest section of the Polynesian Realm. It extends from the Hawaiian Islands in the north to the Tonga and Cook Islands in the south-west and Pitcairn and Easter islands to the south-east, and encompassing all of the islands of the central Pacific.
Species and subspecies
The oceanic parrot (Eclectus infectus) is known from bones found on three islands in the Tonga Archipelago, and which presumably relate to a drawing of a parrot made by an expedition in 1793. It may have occurred on Vanuatu and Fiji as well.
The blue lorikeet (Vini peruviana) was historically endemic to some two dozen islands around Tahiti in the Society Islands but is now confined to about eight (Motu, Manuae, Tikehau, Rangiroa, Aratua, Kaukura, Apataki, and possibly Maupihaa, Harvey Island, and Manihi). The species is also present on the northern atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago, and has been introduced to the island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. It is threatened mainly by introduced rats and feral cats.
The Polynesian imperial pigeon (Ducula aurorae) was historically found on Tahiti in the Society Islands and on Makatea in the Tuamotu Archipelago. It is thought to have been extirpated from the former island, where it was long confined to two valleys where there have been no reports for many years. On Makatea the population was estimated at around 1200 in 2009.
The Polynesian ground dove (Pampusana erythropterus) is divided into two subspecies. The nominate form (P. e. erythropterus) was historically common throughout the Society Islands, eastern Tuamotu and, to judge by fossil material, the Cook Islands as well. It is now extirpated from the Society Islands and most of the Tuamotus, and likely survives only in the remote Acteon Islands group, where the total population is thought to be around 200. Stair’s ground dove (P. stairi) is found discontinuously in the Samoan, Fiji, Tonga, and Wallis and Futuna islands. All are seriously threatened by loss of habitat and introduced rats and feral cats.
The barred emo skink (Emoia trossula) is known from around 20 small and medium-sized islands in the Fiji, Cook, and Tonga islands. The olive small-scaled emo skink (E. lawesi) occurs in the Samoan and Tonga islands as well as Niue. Steindachner’s emo skink (E. adspersa) is found sporadically in the Samoan, Tonga, Cook, and Wallis and Futuna Islands as well as from Tuvalu, where it may perhaps be extirpated. All are threatened by habitat destruction and predation from introduced species.
The Samoan stiphodon (Stiphodon hydroreibatus) is a type of freshwater goby known only from a small number of specimens collected from the Samoan Islands and Futuna Islands.
The Hawaiian Islands
The Hawaiian Islands (Mokupuni o Hawai’i in Hawaiian) are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, and numerous smaller islets in the northern Pacific Ocean, extending some 2400 km from the island of Hawaii in the south to northernmost Kure Atoll. The islands are actually the tops of what is perhaps the world’s mightiest mountain chain. The depths around them are very impressive, the average being just under 5500 m. If measured from its base at the bottom of the sea Mauna Kea, a volcano on Hawaii, is the highest mountain in the world. The islands are geologically rather young and there have been many volcanic eruptions that, several times, probably exterminated all the plants and animals that had managed to reach them. Gradually, beginning in the northwest, volcanic activity died down. Thus Oahu, on which Honolulu is located, has probably not had an eruption since the Polynesian first discovered the islands around ad 500, but Hawaii, the youngest island in the group, has volcanoes such as Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano in the world.
The islands are interesting as well for their unique biodiversity. Long isolation has created species found nowhere else, and as an illustration of the process of evolution these islands are as important as the Galápagos. It is therefore tragic that so many endemic species have been exterminated, and that so many others remain threatened. What remains of the natural biodiversity is among the most magnificent on Earth. The great volcanoes on Maui and Hawaii rise from a humid, tropical area into a cold, dry alpine zone. It is a mystery how the alpine plants reached the islands. Moreover, none of the alpine plants on the volcanoes of Hawaii exist elsewhere and their relations to other alpine species are so distant that their origin cannot be traced with certainty. About 90 per cent of all the native plants on the Hawaiian Islands are endemic. Many birds in these islands are also not found anywhere else. One of the most beautiful examples of the evolution of species and the colonization of hitherto unoccupied environments is provided by the Hawaiian honeycreepers (Mohoidae). All are probably descended from one species, perhaps even only one pair, that once upon a time reached Hawaii from North America. Before the arrival of humans the only vertebrates that had reached Hawaii were birds and a bat. Nearly all these immigrants came from North America, except three, two of which can be traced to Australia and Polynesia, while the origin of the third, a rail, is unknown.
Unfortunately, this unique fauna has suffered shockingly during the past two centuries. Cultivation, the destruction of forests, disease, and the introduction of a large number of exotic plants and animals was a catastrophe for the native fauna. Domestic mammals such as goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, cats, and dogs as well as rats have seriously damaged vegetation and preyed directly on native birds. In addition, Europeans brought the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) to Hawaii in 1883, making the same terrible mistake as they had made elsewhere in the world. Rabbits, axis deer (Axis axis), and even mouflons (Ovis gmelini) were also introduced, the latter as late as 1954. The mongoose occurs on all major islands except Kauai, Lanai, and Niihau, the axis deer on Molokai, Oahu, and Lanai, and the mouflon on Lanai alone. However, feral goats are abundant on most islands and destroy much vegetation. Likewise, feral pigs constitute a threat to groundnesting birds. The number of Hawaiian birds that have become extinct or are threatened is thus tragically high, particularly because almost all of them represented various stages of evolution and scientifically made the Hawaiian Islands a living museum. Thirty species/3 subspecies have been exterminated and 31 species/5 subspecies are threatened. Indeed, no other comparable area of the world shows such a negative faunal balance as Hawaii. Most of the vanished species are land birds, which could not survive on volcanic islands once the forest cover was destroyed. Sea birds generally survived on the coral limestone atolls.
The Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi) was ruthlessly slaughtered by sealers, whalers, plumage hunters, and guano diggers during the latter half of the nineteenth century, and was nearly driven extinct. Complete protection saved them, and from their few remaining retreats on the more remote islands and atolls the species is now once again found throughout the Hawaiian Islands, with occasional sightings outside of the main range (Johnston Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island). Nevertheless, the total population (less than 1000) remains small.
The Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) was formerly found on the islands of Hawaii, Molokai, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, but appears to be confined now to Hawaii and Kauai.
The Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis) ranges across the central Pacific but breeds only in the Hawaiian Islands. Long harvested by early Polynesians, it may have already been restricted to its current breeding range (mainly Haleakala Crater on Maui, with smaller colonies on Mauna Loa, Hawaii, Waimea Canyon, Kauai, and on Lanai and possibly Molokai) when Europeans arrived. The total population possibly exceeds 10,000, but is threatened by loss of habitat and introduced predators.
Newell’s shearwater (Puffinus newelli) is a type of seabird that nests principally on the mountains of Kauai, with smaller additional colonies on Molokai, Hawaii, and possibly Maui, Oahu, and Lanai.
The Hawaiian black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni) is a long-legged, slender shorebird that still occurs locally on all the main islands, but is threatened by the ongoing building boom in the lowlands. The total population is thought to be around 2000.
The Hawaiian hawk (Buteo solitarius) breeds only on Hawaii, although vagrants are occasionally seen on Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai. By the mid-twentieth century it had been reduced to fewer than 200 birds as a result of indiscriminate shooting. Legal protection helped to increase its number to over 1000, where it has remained stable.
The Hawaiian short-eared owl or pueo (Asio flammeus sandwichensis) is found throughout the Hawaiian Islands but is everywhere decreasing, particularly on the island of ,Oahu where it was formerly common. The birds are strongly affected by light pollution and are often killed in vehicular accidents in which they dive toward the headlights of cars, possibly in an attempt to hunt.
The Hawaiian goose or nene (Branta sandvicensis) historically occurred on all the main Hawaiian Islands. From a population of about 25,000 in the late nineteenth century it was reduced almost to extinction by hunting, introduced predators, and habitat destruction. By the mid-twentieth century, when it became the focus on an international conservation effort, perhaps as few as 30 birds remained. At the forefront of this campaign was Sir Peter Scott’s successful captive breeding programme at the Wildfowl Trust in Slimbridge, England. Since 1960 over 2400 geese, raised in England and at other facilities in the United States, have been reintroduced into protected areas on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and Kauai. In 2011 the total world population was in excess of 2500. Unfortunately, the mortality rate remains high (particularly in times of drought), and the majority of birds outside of Kauai do not breed in the wild state.
The Hawaiian duck or koloa (Anas wyvilliana) was formerly found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands except for Lanai and Kahoolawe. A significant population decline in the early twentieth century brought on by introduced predators, habitat destruction, and hunting reduced it to Kauai and Niihau. It has since been reintroduced to wetland areas on Oahu, Hawaii, and Maui, but continues to be seriously threatened by hybridization with feral mallard ducks (A. platyrhynchos). The total population in 2007 was about 2200. The Laysan duck (A. laysanensis) was also formerly widespread within the Hawaiian Islands, but eventually became confined to Laysan. The species was near extinction at the beginning of the twentieth century, with just 20 birds left in 1923 and about 33 in 1950. After rabbits were eliminated from the island, however, the population increased to around 500 by 1987. With the population approaching maximum carrying capacity, 42 were translocated to two islands of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in 2004 and 2005. A tsunami in March 2011 hit both the Laysan and Midway populations hard, but both have since rebounded. As an additional safeguard, 28 individuals were translocated from Midway to Kure Atoll, a predator-free island about 90 km to the north-west, in 2014.
The Laysan rail (Zapornia palmeri) was confined to the north-western Hawaiian Islands, where it inhabited grass tussocks and thickets. Birds were introduced to Pearl and Hermes Reef and to Eastern Island in the Midway Atoll in 1891 and 1913 and from there to Sand Island in 1910, with failed reintroductions reportedly also attempted at Lisianski Island, Laysan, and the main Hawaiian group. However, it became extinct on Laysan between 1923 and 1936, on Pearl and Hermes Reef in 1930, and on Sand Island in 1943. The last population, on Eastern Island, was exterminated by introduced rats in 1944.
The Hawaiian gallinule (Gallinula galeata sandvicensis) is a chicken-sized wading bird originally found on most of the main Hawaiian Islands. Population numbers and range declined during the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century, mainly due to hunting, introduced species, and the draining of the lowland wetlands it favours. It was last reported on Hawaii in 1887 (subsequent attempts to reintroduce the birds in the late 1920s and again in the 1950s failed), and disappeared from Molokai sometime after the 1940s (a 1983 reintroduction was also unsuccessful, with five of the six birds being shot for food). At the species’ lowest point in the 1950s only 57 remained on Kauai and Oahu. With better protection the numbers have steadily increased since and, while still small, appear to be stable.
The Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai) had declined dramatically during the twentieth century but is still to be found on all the main islands, where the total population fluctuates between 2000 and 4000. Drainage of wetlands for cultivation and developments remain a threat.
The olomao (Myadestes lanaiensis) is a type of thrush divided into two subspecies. The Molokai olomao (M. l. rutha) was historically found on both Maui and Molokai. It was last recorded on the former island in 1933 and thought to be extinct on Molokai as well. In 1968, however, it was found to still exist in a single unaltered forest, where it was very rare. Nevertheless, the last well-documented record was in 1994.
The Nihoa finch (Telespiza ultima) once occurred on Molokai and perhaps other islands, but has long been confined to Nihoa. The population is estimated at around 4500.
The ou (Psittirostra psittacea) was a chunky, finch-like honeycreeper historically found throughout all the larger Hawaiian Islands except Oahu until the 1890s, although it declined precipitously thereafter. The last recorded sighting was in 1989 on Kauai, where it is now almost certainly extinct, although there are still occasional unconfirmed reports from the Kilauea Volcano area of Hawaii island.
Bishop’s oo (Moho bishopi) was extinct on Molokai by 1915 as a result of commercial exploitation of the bird’s beautiful plumage, decimation by rats, and destruction of forests. The species was believed to live on Maui as well, where a single bird was observed in 1981 on the north-east slope of Haleakala.
The ula-ai-hawane (Ciridops anna) was a small honeycreeper known only from five specimens and last definitely recorded in 1892, although with a possible sighting as late as 1937. Fossils indicate that it (or related species) also occurred at one time on Kaui, Molokai, and Oahu.
The Maui Nui akialoa (Akialoa lanaiensis) is known only from three specimens collected on Lanai in 1892. Fossil material perhaps relatable to this species has been found on Maui and Molokai.
The crested honeycreeper or akohekohe (Palmeria dolei) was extirpated on Molokai after 1907, and is now confined to the north-eastern slopes of Haleakala on Maui, where it is extremely rare, although stable.
The black mamo (Drepanis funerea) is a type of honeycreeper that was only ever observed on Molokai, although fossils are known from adjacent Maui. Last collected in 1907, intensive searches in the subsequent decades found no sign of it. The iiwi (D. coccinea) once occurred on all the main islands, but is now extinct on Lanai. Only relict populations remain on Oahu and Molokai.
The Hawaiian spinecheek sleeper goby (Eleotris sandwicensis) is confined to lowland streams of the larger Hawaiian Islands.
The Hawaiian freshwater goby (Lentipes concolor) is a little-known species from the mountain streams of Hawaii, Molokai, and Maui. It is important to native people as a food fish.
Known as ‘the Big Island’, Hawaii (Hawai’i in Hawaiian) is the largest and south-easternmost of the chain. It is also the youngest, having been built from five separate shield volcanoes. Measured from its sea floor base to its highest peak, Mauna Kea is the world’s tallest mountain.
The Hawaii rail (Zapornia sandwichensis) was apparently confined to upland forest clearings on the eastern side of Hawaii Island, although it may formerly have occurred on Molokai as well. Last seen in 1884 and possibly in 1893, it was exterminated by introduced cats.
The Hawaii crow (Corvus hawaiiensis) is confined to the mountain slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai on Hawaii Island, where it was still reported to be common in 1891. Highly vulnerable to introduced rats, mongooses, and feral cats, by the 1970s the population had been reduced to less than two dozen birds living in protected areas. The last two known wild individuals disappeared from Mauna Loa in 2002, rendering the species extinct in the wild. Over 100 remain in captive breeding facilities, however, and a reintroduction plan is being developed.
The Hawaii thrush or omao (Myadestes obscurus) is a robin-like bird formerly found throughout the island, but now restricted to rainforests on the southern and eastern slopes.
The Hawaii akialoa (Akialoa obscura) was a type of finch that was not uncommon until 1895, but which declined rapidly thereafter. Last reported in 1940, it appears to have been driven to extinction by habitat destruction.
The Hawaii elepaio (Chasiempis sandwichensis) is a type of small flycatcher confined to montane areas of Hawaii. Three subspecies are recognized. The Kona elepaio (C. s. sandwichensis) inhabits mesic forest, where its population appears to be stable at around 60,000–65,000. The volcano elepaio (C. s. ridgewayi) occurs in montane rainforest. The Mauna Kea elepaio (C. s. bryani) is confined to dry forests on the leeward slopes of Mauna Kea. The total population is between 2000 and 2500.
The Hawaii creeper or alawi (Manucerthia mana) is confined to three montane dry forest areas of Hawaii.
The Hawaii oo (Moho nobilis) was a type of honeycreeper that was frequently shot for its beautiful feathers, which were used by native people in making robes. As late as 1898 hunters were still able to slaughter over 1000, but after that the population declined rapidly. The last known sighting was in 1934 on the slopes of Mauna Loa.
The kioea (Chaetoptila angustipluma) was a type of large honeycreeper historically confined to Hawaii Island, although fossil remains are also known from Oahu and Maui. Only four specimens were ever collected. Last seen in 1859, it was presumably exterminated by logging of its montane plateau forest habitat.
The palila (Loxioides bailleui) is a finch-billed type of honeycreeper formerly found throughout the Hawaiian Islands, but now confined to the forests of the upper slopes of Mauna Kea. In 2016 the total population was estimated at 1900.
The akiapolaau (Hemignathus wilsoni) is a type of honeycreeper endemic to Hawaii Island, where it was formerly widespread in old growth and wet forests. Surveys in the late 1970s and early 1980s estimated around 1500 birds, although many populations have since been extirpated, mainly due to habitat destruction and introduced predators.
The Hawaii akepa (Loxops coccineus) is a small passerine bird confined to three montane forest areas on Hawaii, specifically in Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Reserve on Mauna Kea, the upper forest areas of Kau in the southern part of the island, and on the northern slope of Hualalai. The total population is thought to be around 14,000.
The koa finches (Rhodacanthis) were large, seed-eating honeycreepers, all of which are now extinct. The lesser koa finch (R. flaviceps) is known only from a handful of skins, and was last recorded in 1891. The greater koa finch (R. palmeri) was still common during the late nineteenth century, but was last collected in 1896.
The Hawaii mamo (Drepanis pacifica) was a type of honeycreeper last recorded in 1898 above Hilo and in 1899 nea Kaunana.
The greater amakihi (Viridonia sagittirostris) was a type of honeycreeper found only along the Wailuku River above Hilo, where it became extinct in 1901 after most of its habitat was converted into agriculture.
The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui’s diverse landscapes are the result of a unique combination of geology, topography, and climate. It is home to a large, still relatively pristine rainforest on the north-eastern flanks of Haleakala Volcano. However, the vibrant dry forest on the island’s leeward side has been destroyed by human activities, while agricultural and industrial land use has had an adverse effect on most of the coastal regions.
The Maui akepa (Loxops ochraceus) was last observed in 1988. It is likely extinct, although possible audio evidence gives hope that the species may still exist on Haleakala.
The Maui nukupuu (Hemignathus affinis) is (or was) a type of honeycreeper confined to the eastern and north-eastern slopes of Haleakala. Considered extinct since 1896, it was rediscovered with three or four individuals in 1967. The last confirmed sighting was in 1989, although there have been other possible records since then.
The black-faced honeycreeper or po’o-uli (Melamprosops phaeosoma) was first discovered in 1973 in the Ko’olau Forest Reserve on the north-eastern flanks of Haleakala. At the time it was estimated to number fewer than 200 birds. By 1995 only 5–7 individuals were left and by 1997 only 3 could be found (2 male and 1 possible female). Two of these were not seen again after 2003, and the following year the remaining individual was captured but died soon after.
The Maui parrotbill (Pseudonestor xanthophrys) is a type of honeycreeper confined to a small forested area on the northeastern slopes of Haleakala. The population of around 500 birds is fully protected and has remained more or less stable since the 1970s.
The Maui alauahio (Paroreomyza montana) is divided into two subspecies. The nominate form (P. m. newtoni) is found only in two areas of eastern Maui, where it is vulnerable to habitat degradation by feral goats and fires.
Oahu (O’ahu in Hawaiian) is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It is comprised of two separate shield volcanoes, with a broad valley or ‘saddle’ between them.
The Oahu thrush or amaui (Myadestes woahensis) was a type of thrush known only from a single specimen collected in 1825, and is believed to have gone extinct around 1850.
The Oahu oo (Moho apicalis) was last seen in 1837.
The Oahu akepa (Loxops wolstenholmei) was last seen in 1930.
The Oahu akialoa (Akialoa ellisiana) is known only from two specimens collected in the mountains of Oahu in 1837. There were undocumented reports in 1937 and 1940, but the species is now considered extinct.
The Oahu nukupuu (Hemignathus lucidus) was considered common in 1860, but became extinct by the end of the nineteenth century.
The Oahu alauahio (Paroreomyza maculata) was a type of honeycreeper last definitely reported in 1985. Subsequent searches have failed to find it, and the species is most likely extinct.
The Oahu amakihi (Chlorodrepanis flava) is restricted to two small mountainous areas.
The Oahu elepaio (Chasiempis ibidis) is a small flycatcher confined to a few isolated mountain areas, where the total remaining population is about 1250.
Known as the ‘Garden Isle’, Kauai (Kaua’i in Hawaiian) lies north-west of Oahu.
Two small thrushes (Myadestes) were historically endemic to Kauai. The kamao (M. myadestinus) was once the most common forest bird on the island, but by 1928 was confined to the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve. The last definite record was in 1985. The puaiohi (M. palmeri) is confined to a single upland area, where it is somewhat protected within the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve. In 2007 the total population was estimated at 200–500. A captive-breeding programme has been successful.
The Kauai akialoa (Akialoa stejnegeri) was widespread on the island at the beginning of the twentieth century. By the 1960s it was very rare and confined to the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve, where it was last recorded in 1969.
The Kauai oo (Moho braccatus) was historically common, but by the 1970s was confined to the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve. In 1981 a single pair remained, the female ultimately disappearing after a hurricane the following year and the male last seen in 1985. The last report, of vocalizations only, was in 1987.
The Kauai nukupuu (Hemignathus hanapepe) was last definitely reported in 1899, although occasional, unconfirmed sightings have continued up to the present century.
The Kauai elepaio (Chasiempis sclateri) is a small flycatcher that lost roughly half its population owing to a hurricane in 1992, but has since largely recovered.
The akekee (Loxops caeruleirostris) has declined rapidly over the past few decades. The total population is about 1000.
The Kauai creeper or akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi) is confined to a single upland area, where the total population is about 500.
The Kauai amakihi (Chlorodrepanis stejnegeri) is confined to a few mountainous areas, although still relatively common.
The anianiau (Magumma parva) is a type of honeycreeper confined to montane forests on Kauai.
Also known as ‘Pineapple Island’ owing to its past as an island-wide pineapple plantation, today Lanai (Lana’i in Hawaiian) is mostly privately owned.
The Lanai olomao (Myadestes lanaiensis lanaiensis) was last seen in 1933.
The Kona grosbeak (Chloridops kona) was a type of honeycreeper already rare at the time of its discovery, being restricted to a small area of forest on lava flows. It was last collected in 1894.
The Lanai hookbill (Dysmorodrepanis munroi) is known only from a single specimen collected in 1913, along with single sightings in 1916 and 1918.
The Lanai alauahio (Paroreomyza montana montana) was extinct around 1937.
Located east of Oahu and north of Lanai, Molokai (Moloka’i in Hawaiian) developed from two separate shield volcanoes.
The Molokai alauahio (Paroreomyza flammea) was last recorded in the early 1960s. A survey in 1979 failed to find it.
The westernmost of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands, Niihau (Ni’ihau in Hawaiian) lies about 30 km west of Kauai. Little more than an extinct volcano rising from the sea floor and quite arid, its intermittent playa lakes, however, provide important wetland habitats for threatened waterfowl such as Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai), Hawaiian black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), and Hawaiian duck (Anas wyvilliana). Barren of trees for centuries, in recent years the owners have begun an ambitious reforestation campaign.
Nihoa is a small, steep, rocky island. It is the tallest of 10 islands in the uninhabited north-western Hawaiian Islands.
The millerbird (Acrocephalus familiaris) is a type of warbler divided into two subspecies. The Nihoa millerbird (A. f. kingi) is historically endemic to Nihoa, where numbers have fluctuated from less than 50 to more than 800. In recent years individuals have been translocated to Laysan, where the population stands at around 150.
Located 1500 km north-west of Honolulu, Laysan (Kauo in Hawaiian) is an atoll of sorts, although the land completely surrounds a shallow central lake some 2.4 m above sea level. The island’s native vegetation was almost completely destroyed due to the introduction of rabbits in the 1890s. The latter were finally exterminated after 1923, but by then three endemic bird taxa were either already extinct or soon would be.
The Laysan millerbird (Acrocephalus familiaris familiaris) was estimated to number about 1500 birds in 1915, but was extinct before 1923 due to habitat destruction caused by rabbits. A population of the surviving subspecies (A. f. kingi) from Nihoa has since been successfully introduced to the island.
The Laysan apapane (Himatione fraithii) was a type of honeycreeper that became extinct in 1923 due to loss of habitat, with the final blow being a violent storm in which what are thought to have been the final three individuals were killed. A short, silent film clip of one of the latter is still in existence.
The Laysan finch (Telespiza cantans) is today largely confined to Laysan, with additional small populations on two very tiny islands in the Pearl and Hermes Atoll. In 1903 the introduction of rabbits to Laysan led to a serious decline, but the species recovered rapidly after the former were exterminated in 1923. An introduced population on Midway Island succumbed to rats during the 1940s.
The Line Islands
The Line Islands, named from their location on the equator, are a chain of atolls about 1500 km south of Hawaii. Polynesians landed on these islands but did not settle there, so it is entirely white whalers and traders that have changed the face of the islands by digging for guano, drying copra, and merciless hunting.
The Line Islands reed warbler (Acrocephalus aequinoctialis) is confined to Kiritimati (Christmas Island) and Teraina (Washington Island). It formerly occurred on Tabueran (Fanning Island) as well, but was extirpated there in 1972.
Teraina (Washington Island) is a small coral atoll notable for the presence of a freshwater lake.
The Teraina gadwall (Mareca strepera couesi) is a now-extinct type of dwarf duck formerly confined to Washington Lake. It was of considerable zoological interest, in that a species so widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere should have adapted to a tiny mid-ocean lake and evolved a subspecies there. Humans exterminated it in or shortly after 1874.
Kiritimati (Christmas Island) is a raised coral island located in the northern Line Islands. It is notable for having the greatest land area of any coral atoll in the world.
The Kiritimati sandpiper (Prosobonia cancellata) is known only from its type specimen, and appears to have been exterminated by introduced cats and rats by around 1850.
The Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands (Îles Marquises in French) are a remote volcanic island group located about 1400 km north-east of Tahiti. They fall into two main divisions: a northern one centred around the large island of Nuku Hiva, and a southern one clustered around Hiva ’Oa. In contrast to the lush vegetation of other Polynesian islands they are remarkably dry and, until relatively recently, little affected by European contact.
The Marquesan swamphen (Porphyrio paepae) is known from Hiva Oa and Tahuata, where it is thought to have been exterminated by hunting and introduced predators. In Paul Gauguin’s 1902 painting Le Sorcier d’Hiva Oa ou le Marquisien à la cape rouge there is a bird that resembles native descriptions of the Marquesas swamphen being killed by a dog. The explorer Thor Heyerdahl may have seen one as well in 1937, but the species must have gone extinct soon after.
The Marquesan imperial pigeon (Ducula galeata) has been heavily depleted by introduced species and hunting, and is today largely confined to isolated valleys in the west and north of Nuku Hiva, with a small translocated population on Ua Huka.
The Marquesan ground dove (Pampusana rubescens) is currently confined to two uninhabited, cat-free islets (Hatuta’a and Fatu Huku). Subfossil specimens indicated that it formerly occurred on Nuku Hiva and at least three other islets as well, suggesting that the species formerly ranged throughout the Marquesas.
The Marquesan kingfisher (Todiramphus godeffroyi) historically occurred on Hiva Oa and Tahuata, but was extirpated from the former by the late 1990s. In 2003 the total population was estimated at between 400 and 500.
The Marquesan monarch (Pomarea mendozae) is a type of flycatcher divided into two subspecies. The Hiva Oa monarch (P. m. mendozae) was historically found on Hiva Oa and Tahuata. It is now extinct, having last been reported in 1975.
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas. Once almost entirely forested, today the central part consists of a high grassy plateau dotted with pine forest plantations.
The red-moustached fruit dove (Ptilinopus mercierii) is a now-extinct species divided into two subspecies. The Nuku Hiva red-moustached fruit dove (P. m. mercierii) is known only from a single specimen collected from Nuku Hiva between 1836 and 1839.
The Nuku Hiva monarch (Pomarea nukuhivae) was considered uncommon as early as 1922 and rare by the 1930s, when the last confirmed sightings took place. It was not seen in 1972 or 1975 despite several weeks of intensive searches (although there was an unconfirmed report in the latter year made by hunters of a bird matching its description). Further unsuccessful searches in the late 1990s seem to confirm its extinction.
The northern Marquesan reed warbler (Acrocephalus percernis) is not considered to be threatened as a species, although four of its subspecies are. The Nuku Hiva reed warbler (A. p. percernis) is confined to Fatu Hiva.
The Nuku Hiva coastal stream goby (Stenogobius caudimaculosus) is confined to Nuku Hiva.
Ua Huka is located in the northern Marquesas Islands, approximately 40 km east of Nuku Hiva. While small, it still has around 30 per cent of its original forest cover and remains uninfested with black rats, although feral goats are a problem.
The ultramarine lorikeet (Vini ultramarina) was formerly common throughout the Marquesas but is now found only on Ua Huka. In 2012 the total population was estimated at less than 2500.
The Ua Huka monarch (Pomarea iphis) is confined to the dry forests of Ua Huka.
The Ua Huka reed warbler (Acrocephalus percernis idae) is confined to Ua Huka.
Hiva Oa is the second largest of the Marquesas Islands and the largest of the southern Marquesas group.
The Hiva Oa red-moustached fruit dove (Ptilinopus mercierii tristrami) is known from around a dozen specimens, the last of which was collected in 1922. A report from 1980 appears to be an error, but in any event the form is now certainly extinct, a victim of introduced predators.
The Hiva Oa coastal stream goby (Stenogobius marqueti) and the Atuana goby (Sicyopterus marquesensis) are confined to Hiva Oa.
Fatu Hiva is the southernmost of the Marquesas Islands.
The Fatu Hiva monarch (Pomarea whitneyi) was long considered secure and relatively common despite being confined to one tiny island. However, since the arrival of black rats in 2000 it has declined rapidly and is presumably facing extinction. In 2009 the total population was estimated at just 67 birds.
The southern Marquesan reed warbler (Acrocephalus mendanae) is divided into three subspecies. The Fatu Hiva reed warbler (A. m. fatuhivae) is confined to Fatu Hiva.
Eiao is a small, uninhabited island located in the northern Marquesas. It and the surrounding rocks were proclaimed a nature reserve in 1992, but have since suffered extensive habitat destruction by feral goats, sheep, and pigs.
The Eiao monarch (Pomarea fluxa) was last observed in 1977, and is now considered extinct. It is thought to have fallen victim to rats, feral cats, and perhaps disease brought by the introduced chestnut-breasted manakin (Lonchura castaneothorax).
The Eiao reed warbler (Acrocephalus percernis aquilonis) is confined to dry upland forest on Eiao, where the total population in 1987 was estimated at between 100 and 200. It is now possibly extinct.
Ua Pou is located about 50 km south of Nuku Hiva in the northern Marquesas.
The Ua Pou monarch (Pomarea mira) was last observed in 1985 and thought to be extinct. However, an unconfirmed sighting of a single specimen in 2010 has raised hopes that the species may still survive in very small numbers.
The Ua Pou reed warbler (Acrocephalus percernis dido) is confined to Ua Pou.
The Ua Pou coastal stream goby (Stenogobius squamosus) is confined to Ua Pou.
Mohotani is an uninhabited island located south-east of Hiva Oa and east of Tahuata, in the southern Marquesas.
The Mohotani monarch (Pomarea mendozae motanensis) is confined to Mohotani, where the population is small but apparently stable.
The Mohotani reed warbler (Acrocephalus mendanae consobrina) is confined to Mohotani.
Hatutu is a small island located approximately three kilometres north-east of Eiao, in the northern Marquesas Islands.
The Hatutu reed warbler (Acrocephalus percernis postremus) is confined to Hatutu.
Wallis and Futuna Islands
Located in the South Pacific about two-thirds of the way between Hawaii and New Zealand, the Wallis and Futuna Islands (Îles Wallis-et-Futuna in French) consist of three main volcanic tropical islands along with a number of tiny islets, divided into two separate archipelagos lying about 260 km apart.
Four species of freshwater goby are endemic to small estuarine streams on Futuna Island, where they are highly threatened by habitat alteration due to taro farming. Futuna’s emperor (Akihito futuna) and the Wallis and Futuna stiphodon (Stiphodon rubromaculatus) are both confined to a single short stream, where they are very rare. Sasal’s sicyopus goby (Smilosicyopus sasali) and Keletaona’s coastal stream goby (Stenogobius keletaona) are both known from two streams but, like the previous two species, are believed to have been formerly more widespread.
The Samoan Islands
The Samoan Islands lie in the central South Pacific about 800 north-east of Fiji. The larger islands are volcanic in origin, mountainous, and covered in tropical moist forests. Some of the smaller islands are coral atolls with black sand beaches.
The insular mouse-eared bat (Myotis insularum) is known only from a perhaps incorrectly labelled type specimen, said to have originated from Samoa.
The Samoan tooth-billed pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris) was a superficially parrot-like species that was very common when first discovered during the mid-nineteenth century, but near extinction 50 years later due to introduced predators. Today it is found only in forested areas of Savai’i, Upolu, and Nu’ulua.
The mao (Gymnomyza samoensis) is a large honeyeater that still occurs in small numbers on Savai’i and Upolu. It may have formerly been found on Tutuila as well.
The Samoan emo skink (Emoia samoensis) is confined to the Samoan Islands.
The Salele flagtail (Kuhlia salelea) is a type of freshwater fish confined to a few Samoan rivers.
Savai’i is comprised of a shield volcano and is the largest and highest of the Samoan Islands. It is home to the Central Savai’i rainforest, the largest continuous area of moist forest in Polynesia.
The Samoan moorhen (Pareudiastes pacificus) is (or was) an almost flightless species that was long thought to have been exterminated by introduced cats, compounded by hunting, not having been observed since 1873. In 1984, however, there were two possible sightings in upland forest west of Mount Elietoga, and in 2003 a possible sighting of two individuals on Mount Sili. Nevertheless, the species is now most likely extinct.
The Savai’i white-eye (Zosterops samoensis) is a type of passerine bird confined to Savai’i, where it is not uncommon.
The Society Islands
The Society Islands (Îles de la Société in French) are located in the south-central Pacific. Consisting of an eastern (Windward) and western (Leeward) group, these islands have suffered the extermination of more vertebrate species than any other island group of the South Seas except for the Hawaiian Islands. Paradoxically, this sad record seems to be partly explained by the unusual friendliness towards Europeans of the Polynesians on the islands. As a result, European explorers, whalers, and traders frequented Tahiti much more than other islands. At each visit, rats went ashore and eventually exterminated a number of birds.
The Tahiti red-billed rail (Hypotaenidia pacifica) was extirpated from Tahiti by 1844, and last recorded on Mehetia in the 1930s.
Tahiti is the highest and largest island in French Polynesia and is divided into two parts: the bigger, north-western Tahiti Nui and the smaller, south-eastern Tahiti Iti. Formed from volcanic activity and surrounded by coral reefs, it was originally settled by Polynesians between ad 300 and ad 800.
The Tahiti crake (Zapornia nigra) was a type of rail known from two illustrations, one by Forster from Tahiti during Cook’s second voyage (1772–75), and the other by Miller in 1784. It presumably became extinct soon after.
The Tahiti sandpiper (Prosobonia leucoptera) was originally collected by Johann Reinhold Forster and painted by his son in 1773. Another specimen, now lost, was taken in 1777. Introduced rats are believed to have caused the extinction.
The Tahiti black-fronted parakeet (Cyanoramphus zealandicus) was endemic to Tahiti, where it is known from three specimens collected on Cook’s voyage in 1773, a fourth in 1842, and a fifth in 1844. It was extinct soon after.
The so-called Liverpool pigeon (Caloenas maculata) is a poorly known species known from two museum specimens of unknown providence, the first collected between 1783 and 1823 and now lost, and another still in a museum in Liverpool. The latter is believed to have originated in Tahiti, but the species has not been reported there since 1928, when the only possible sightings were made. It is presumably extinct, a likely victim of hunting.
The Tahiti monarch (Pomarea nigra) was extremely rare throughout the twentieth century and has long been reduced to just four valleys, where the total population in 2015 was thought to be less than 50.
The Tahiti reed warbler (Acrocephalus caffer) is confined to Tahiti, where it is absent from the eastern peninsula and localized to between 6 and 12 valleys. In 1993 the total population was estimated at around a few hundred individuals.
Raiatea is the second largest of the Society Islands.
The Raiatea parakeet (Cyanoramphus ulietanus) is known only from two specimens collected in 1773.
The Raiatea fruit dove (Ptilinopus chrysogaster) breeds on Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora, and Maupiti. The total population is thought to be less than 2500.
The Raiatea starling (Aplonis ulietensis) is known only from a 1774 painting of the type specimen, now lost, as well as from contemporary descriptions and a few field notes. An expedition to the island in 1850 failed to find the species, which likely became extinct following the arrival of rats.
Two subspecies of Society Islands reed warbler (Acrocephalus musae) formerly occurred in the Society Islands. The Raiatea reed warbler (A. m. musae) was confined to Raiatea, where it went extinct sometime during the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries.
Moorea is a high island located 17 km north-west of Tahiti.
The Moorea sandpiper (Prosobonia ellisi) was a type of shorebird that has not been recorded since two original specimens were collected in 1777. Both are now lost, but paintings based on them survive.
The Moorea kingfisher (Todiramphus youngi) is confined to Moorea where it is generally uncommon, although abundant at one locality.
The Moorea reed warbler (Acrocephalus longirostris) may perhaps be extinct, although there have been two unconfirmed records this century which suggest it could still exist in very small numbers.
Maupiti is a small coral atoll with a volcanic island in its midst.
The Maupiti monarch (Pomarea pomarea) is known only from the type specimen collected in 1823. It presumably became extinct as a result of habitat destruction and invasive species.
Huahine is located in the Leeward Islands group.
The Huahine reed warbler (Acrocephalus musae garretti) was confined to Huahine, where it went extinct sometime during the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries.
The Tuamotu Archipelago
The Tuamotus (Îles Tuamotu in French) consist of 76 small islands and atolls. Together these form the largest chain of atolls in the world, stretching as they do over an area of ocean roughly the size of Western Europe. All are low coral islands, being little more than high sand bars built upon coral reefs.
The Tuamotu sandpiper (Prosobonia parvirostris) is a small wading bird historically widespread in the Tuamotu Archipelago but long restricted to a few predator-free, usually uninhabited islands. Currently only five islands are known to support populations (Tenararo, Morane, Reitoru, Tahanea, and Raraka), where the total number in 2003 was thought to be around 1300.
The Tuamotu ground dove (Pampusana erythropterus albicolis) was formerly found throughout the Tuamotu Archipelago but is now confined to Hao and probably Tahanea atolls.
Niau is a small atoll notable for its remnant tropical forests.
The Tuamotu kingfisher (Todiramphus gambieri) is divided into two subspecies. The Niau kingfisher (T. g. niauensis) is confined to Niau.
Makatea is a raised coral atoll located in the northwestern Tuamotus.
The Makatea fruit dove (Ptilinopus chalcurus) is confined to Makatea, where it remains relatively common.
The Gambier Islands
Although geographically part of the Tuamotus, the Gambier Islands (Îles Gambier in French), at the south-eastern extreme of the archipelago, are geologically distinct. They consist of a small group of volcanic islands, remnants of a caldera, along with islets on the surrounding fringing reef.
The Mangareva kingfisher (Todiramphus gambieri gambieri) became extinct prior to 1922.
The Tonga Islands
The Tonga Islands are an archipelago of about 170 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. They are located directly south of Samoa and about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand.
The Tongan scrubfowl (Megapodius pritchardii) was once widespread in the Tonga Islands but is now confined to Niuafo’ou and Fonualei, the latter population having been introduced.
The Tongan ground skink (Tachygyia microlepis) has not been recorded since the early nineteenth century, and is presumably extinct.
Eua is a hilly and still heavily forested island, much of which is protected as Eua National Park.
The Eua forest gecko (Lepidodactylus euaensis) is confined to the island, where it remains common.
The Cook Islands
Located north-east of New Zealand between French Polynesia and American Samoa, the Cook Islands comprise 15 major atolls (sunken volcanoes topped by coral growth) and two submerged reefs, divided into a northern and southern growth. There is a large introduced population of ship rats that have drastically reduced bird populations.
The Cook Islands reed warbler (Acrocephalus kerearako) remains fairly common on Mangaia and Miti’aro.
The volcanic island of Rarotonga stands over 4500 m above the ocean floor. The interior is dominated by eroded volcanic peaks cloaked in dense vegetation.
The Cook Islands fruit dove (Ptilinopus rarotongensis) is divided into two subspecies. The Rarotonga fruit dove (P. r. raotongensis) is confined to Rarotonga, where it is moderately common.
The Rarotonga monarch (Pomarea dimidiata) was thought to be extinct in the early 1900s and was long considered one of the world’s rarest birds. A survey in 1983 located an estimated 35–50 individuals in a few isolated valleys, although since that time the species has made a remarkable recovery.
The Rarotonga starling (Aplonis cinerascens) occurs in the rugged interior of the island. In 1973 it was still not uncommon, although by 1984 the population had been considerably reduced. In 2011 it was estimated at 2350.
The Rarotonga emo skink (Emoia tuitarere) is confined to a single locality, where it is still fairly common.
Mauke is characterized by a central volcanic plateau, deep underground caves and lakes, and jagged fossilized coral extending far inland.
The Mauke starling (Aplonis mavornata) is known only from the type specimen collected in 1825 from Mauke. The species was not found on the next ornithological visit to Mauke in 1975, and the species is believed to be extinct, a victim of introduced brown rats.
Atiu is located 190 km north-east of Rarotonga. The north of the island is home to the largest wetlands area in the Cook Islands.
The Atiu fruit dove (Ptilinopus rarotongensis goodwini) is confined to Atiu, where it is moderately common.
The Atiu swiftlet (Aerodramus sawtelli) is confined, when breeding, to just two caves on Atiu, and is therefore vulnerable to stochastic events and human activities.
Mangaia is the most southerly of the Cook Islands and the second largest, after Rarotonga. Introduced species include the aggressive common myna (Acridotheres tristis), cats, and rats.
The Mangaia kingfisher (Todiramphus ruficollaris) is confined to the island, although its population is considered to be stable.
The Austral Islands
The Austral Islands (Îles Australes in French) are located 640 km south of Tahiti, in south-western French Polynesia. They are comprised of two separate archipelagos, the Tubuai Islands (consisting of Tubuai, Raivavae, Rimatara, Rurutu, and the uninhabited Íles Maria) and the Bass Islands (consisting of Rapa Iti and Marotiri).
Tubuai (also known as Tupua’i) is the main island of the Tubaui Island group. It features two volcanic domes and is surrounded by a barrier reef and numerous islets.
Randall’s coastal stream goby (Stenogobius randalli) is confined to Tubuai.
Rimatara is characterized by its fern-covered central hills, forests, and numerous swamps.
Kuhl’s lorikeet (Vini kuhlii) was originally found only on Rimatara, but was introduced to Teraina (Washington Island), Tabuaeran (Fanning Island), and Kiritimati (Christmas Island) by Polynesians, and more recently to Atiu in the Cook Islands. It appears to have been historically present on at least five of the southern Cook Islands as well, but was exterminated there due to excessive exploitation for its beautiful red feathers. The total population in all areas is perhaps 2000.
The Rimatara reed warbler (Acrocephalus rimitarae) is confined to the island, where it remains relatively common.
The northernmost of the Austral Islands, Rurutu is notable for its many caves.
The Rurutu stiphodon (Stiphodon discotorquatus) is a type of freshwater goby known only from a single short river on Rurutu. It was last recorded in 1985, and may be extinct.
Rapi Iti is the largest and only inhabited island in the Bass Islands. It is essentially the peak of a sinking volcano, the caldera forming a protected central bay.
The Rapa Iti shearwater (Puffinus myrtae) is a type of seabird that historically bred on Rapa Iti and surrounding islets, but was extirpated from the main island by introduced rats, goats, and feral cats.
The Rapa Iti fruit dove (Ptilinopus huttoni) is confined to undisturbed forest fragments on the island, where the total population was estimated at around 275 individuals in 1990.
Two freshwater fish species, the Rapa Iti goby (Sicyopterus rapa) and Julien’s stiphodon (Stiphodon julieni), are confined to three small rivers all less than 3 km in length.
The Pitcairn Islands
The Pitcairn Islands are a group of four volcanic islands spread out over a wide area of ocean in easternmost Polynesia.
The Henderson petrel (Pterodroma atrata) is now known to breed only on Henderson Island, but may also have bred on Pitcairn Island in the recent past. The species was wiped out on Dulcie Island by invasive rats in 1922. While its non-breeding range is not well known, it has been sighted on Easter Island.
Pitcairn is the only inhabited island in the Pitcairn Islands group.
The Pitcairn reed warbler (Acrocephalus vaughani) is endemic to Pitcairn, where it is threatened by introduced cats and rats.
Henderson Island is a small, uninhabited, raised-reef island whose remoteness and unsuitability for human habitation have long made it the subject of scientific study. It features a remarkable number of endemic species, including at least three species of pigeon driven to extinction by early Polynesians around ad 1000. All are vulnerable to habitat destruction and the accidental introduction of invasive species.
The Henderson crake (Zapornia atra) is a type of flightless rail confined to Henderson Island.
Stephen’s lorikeet (Vini stepheni) is confined to Henderson Island.
The Henderson fruit dove (Ptilinopus insularis) is confined to Henderson Island.
The Henderson reed warbler (Acrocephalus taiti) is confined to Henderson Island.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui in Polynesian/Isla de Pascua in Spanish) is located in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean. Famous for its monumental statues, Polynesians lived there for more than 1000 years and built a thriving civilization. Scientists have found evidence of extensive deforestation and soil erosion, however, indicating that a massive ecological disaster took place here due most likely to overpopulation.
By the time of European arrival in 1722 the island’s population had dropped to just two or three thousand, and introduced disease and Peruvian slave-trading reduced that further, to a low of only 111 inhabitants in 1877. Today, Rapa Nui is one of the most remote inhabited places on Earth. There are no longer any native terrestrial vertebrate species on Easter Island, although at least five undescribed forms (two rails, a heron, and two parrots) are known to have gone extinct there at some point in the past. The complete destruction of the island’s unique subtropical broadleaf forests is the likely cause.
Anthropogenic effects on the flora and fauna
The first people to arrive in this region are believed to be related to the sea-migrating Austronesian people who most likely originated in Taiwan several thousand years ago. Remarkable navigators, they had migrated slowly south and east from Asia before ultimately sweeping out overmost of the Pacific islands by means of outrigger canoe, finally reaching the western Polynesian islands by 900 bc, and the eastern ones a thousand years later. Everywhere that they went they brought with them domestic animals such as chickens, dogs, and pigs, which would certainly play a role in changing the environment. They also carried with them the Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans), which quickly had fatal consequences for several ground-nesting bird species. Yet on the whole the incursions were not yet too destructive. These people employed a garden type of agriculture, with groves of breadfruit, coconuts, and bananas being easily produced and usually without any effect on the soil. The interior of the islands were often left untouched by the settlers, who were also dependent upon the sea for most of their food. This form of agriculture combined with fishing was the basis for an idyllic way of human life, but did not allow a strong population growth all over the Pacific islands. Tribal wars, cannibalism, and voluntary limitation of excess children kept the human population in balance with the carrying capacity of the soil and sea.
When Europeans first began to colonize these islands about 250 years ago, however, all sense of biological harmony was destroyed. They latter brought with them exotic plants and insects in large numbers and introduced sheep, goats, and pigs almost everywhere. Foreign diseases spread among the native population. New methods of farming, unsuitable to the islands, caused increasing erosion. Most disastrous of all, their ships carried even more disastrous invasive rodents than those previously brought by the Polynesians, namely brown and black rats (Rattus norvegicus and R. rattus), as well as feral cats, all destroyers of defenceless endemic birds. The destruction of natural vegetation and animal life upset the ecological equilibrium in many places, making it more and more difficult for human beings to survive. The native fauna began to be wiped out. More recently the Pacific islands have undergone a massive population explosion and global climate change threatens to return the more low-lying islands to the sea once more, making the very future of humans on these islands uncertain.
In recent historical time (i.e. since ad 1500), the Polynesian Region has lost at least 46 species/8 subspecies of vertebrates. Among the extinct forms 1 species is a mammal, 44 species/8 subspecies are birds, and 1 species is a reptile. Another 8 species are possibly extinct.
In addition, there are 86 species/17 subspecies currently threatened with extinction (that is to say, either Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List, as well as certain forms either listed as Data Deficient or Not Assessed but which are clearly at some risk of extinction). Of these, 1 species/1 subspecies are mammals, 64 species/16 subspecies are birds, 6 species are reptiles, and 15 species are freshwater fishes.