Acrocephalus musae   (Forster)


 
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Huahine Reed-Warbler
(Acrocephalus musae garretti (Cibois, Thiboult & Pasquet))

 
syn. Acrocephalus caffer garretti (Cibois, Thiboult & Pasquet)

 
distribution:

Society Islands: Huahine

 
local name:

'Otatare (Tahitian)

 
size: ca. 19 cm (length)

extinction date: after 1887

 
Up to the present the Reed-Warblers of the Society Archipelago were considered as subspecies of the Tahiti Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus caffer (Sparrman)).

According to DNA analyses it is now known that the four known forms evolved from three seperate colonisations. The Reed-Warblers of the both islands Huahine and Ra'iatea can be referred to a common ancestor and so can be conflated as two subspecies of a single species.

In the year 1987 the Huahine Reed-Warbler was described as a distinct form on the basis of two specimens, which were collected between 1870 and 1887.

Only about a handful of preperated specimens exist today in several european museums.

 
Raiatea Reed-Warbler
(Acrocephalus musae musae (Forster))

 
syn. Acrocephalus caffer musae (Forster), Oriolus musae (Forster)

 
distribution:

Society Islands: Ra'iatea

 
local name:

'Otatare (Tahitian)

 
size: ca. 19 cm (length)

extinction date: after 1870

 
From the 3-th November to the 7-th December in the year 1777 Cook's ships anchored at the coast of Ra'iatea. During that time George Forster collected several birds, among them the mysterious Bay Thrush as well as this Reed-Warbler.

Today the depiction of this bird, also made by George Forster, is all what remained of this specimen.

The only other preserved specimen of this form was collected around 1870, it is now kept in the Übersee-Museum in Bremen / Germany.

 
References:

- Erwin Stresemann: Birds collected during Capt. James Cook's last expedition (1776-1780). Auk 67(1): 66-88. 1950
- Alice Cibois; Jean-Claude Thibault; Eric Pasquet: Systematics of the extinct reed warblers Acrocephalus of the Society Islands of eastern Polynesia. Ibis 150: 365–376. 2008