Gallirallus pacificus


 
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Tahiti Rail
(Gallirallus pacificus)

 
syn. Hypotaenidia pacifica, Rallus pacificus

 
distribution:

Society Islands: Tahiti

 
local name:

Tevea (Tahitian)

 
size: ca. 23 cm (length)

extinction date: after 1844 (?)

 
This small, only 23 cm large species, once lived on the island of Tahiti.

It is known only by one drawing and the associated description, made by George Forster during James Cook's second voyage (1772 to 1775).

The species is said to have survived into the 19-th century, the year 1844 is often given as the extinction date. The reasons for its extinction are the introduction of cats and rats.

 
left:

Tahiti Rail (Gallirallus pacificus)


Depiction by John Gerrard Keulemans from 'Extinct Birds' by Lionel Walter Rothschild from the year 1907

by courtesy of Barbara Ward Grubb / Triptych Collections

http://triptych.brynmawr.edu/index.php

 
References:

- Dieter Luther: Die ausgestorbenen Vögel der Welt. Westarp Wissenschaften 1986
- Errol Fuller: Extinct Birds. Penguin Books (England) 1987
- Barry Taylor, Ber van Perlo: Rails: A Guide to the Rails, Crakes, Gallinules and Coots of the World. Yale University Press 1998
- David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University Of Chicago Press 2006