Conservation of endemic parakeets of New Caledonia

Two vulnerable and endemic parrot species are found on the main island of New Caledonia. They are the Horned Parakeet and the New Caledonian Parakeet. Its main threats, object of study, were the deterioration of its habitat, and the introduction of exotic species, such as black rats (Rattus rattus) and feral cats (Felis catus) and, to a lesser extent, poaching.

Horned Parakeet (Eunymphicus cornutus)
New Caledonia Parakeet (Cyanoramphus saisetti)
Conservation status: Category VU (Vulnerable) in the Red List of the IUCN
Wild population: 8.000 – 9.000, declining.
Captive population: Number unknown

Objectives
This research project is the first to be carried out in New Caledonia and aims to precisely define the threats to these species and the incidence of each of them. Consequently, it is intended to develop the necessary measures for their protection in the wild, in order to improve the cataloging of their status on the IUCN list, where both appear as vulnerable.

Strategies
Studying the ecology of the birds, their geographical distribution density, altitude range (400 to 600 meters), the variety of plants that provide food, and the extent of the threat posed by mammals, especially those introduced.

Actions
The observation of these birds in the breeding season has been intense work, and by which means the project researchers have come to spend more than 11,000 hours per year in each case. Some of the answers have been found in the 91 species recorded as part of the diet of New Caledonia Parakeets, and 101 referenced to Horned Parakeets. The main threats come from the black rat and the wildcat. The researchers were able to identify these predators with the help of video cameras equipped with infrared lights. This way they could get the rate of predation on eggs and chicks, and document the reproductive behaviour.

New Caledonia
Grande Terre Island

Local Partner
Conservation Research New Caledonia

Other organizations involved
Polish Academy of Sciences
University of New Caledonia

Funds since 2005: This research project is the first to be carried out in New Caledonia and aims to precisely define the threats to these species and the incidence of each of them. Consequently, it is intended to develop the necessary measures for their protection in the wild, in order to improve the cataloging of their status on the IUCN list, where both appear as vulnerable.

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