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Title: Status of Land Birds on Selected Islands in the Ha'apai Group, Kingdom of Tonga
Authors: Steadman, David W.
Issue Date: Jan-1998
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Citation: Steadman DW. 1998. Status of land birds on selected islands in the Ha'apai Group, Kingdom of Tonga. Pac Sci 52(1): 14-34.
Abstract: Based on fieldwork in 1995 and 1996, I assess the distribution,
relative abundance, and habitat requirements of indigenous species of land
birds on 13 islands in the Ha'apai Group, Kingdom of Tonga. Among the
islands visited, primary forest still exists only on the large (46.6 km2), high
(558 m) volcanic island of Tofua. Vegetation on the 12 smaller (0.15-13.3 km ),
lower (6-45 m) islands is dominated by a mosaic of active and abandoned
agricultural plots, nearly all with an overstory of coconut trees. Because of
cultivation practices, very little of this vegetation is reverting to secondary
forest. Of the 15 resident species of land birds that survive on these islands, nine
are widespread and at least locally common within Ha'apai, although only four
(Gallirallus philippensis, Ptilinopus porphyraceus, Halcyon chloris, Aplonis tabuensis)
certainly or probably occur nowadays on all 13 islands. Three species
(Gallicolumba stairii, Ptilinopus perousii, Clytorhynchus vitiensis) are extirpated
or extremely rare on all islands surveyed except Tofua. Overall species richness
and abundance of land birds are much greater on Tofua than on the other
islands. This difference may be due more to the presence of primary forest on
Tofua than to Tofua's greater area and elevation.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/1554
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 52, Number 1, 1998



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