Indian Ocean_Norfolk Islands
Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2012Critically Endangered
Date Listed: 06/14/1976
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10)
Where Listed: Entire
Population location: Entire
Listing status: E
For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Zosterops albogularis , see its USFWS Species Profile
CITES Appendix I. Surveys were carried out for the species, without success, in 2009 (G. Dutson in litt. 2012). Rat baiting, cat trapping and control of other invasive plants and animals is occurring in Norfolk Island National Park. Responsible cat ownership is being encouraged through sponsorship of cat neutering clinics. The species is being considered in a multi-species management plan for Norfolk Island National Park. Possibilities of captive breeding and securing additional funding to finance recovery efforts are being pursued. A predator exclusion fence has been proposed for Norfolk Island National Park to create a predator free "island" within the park (B. Watson in litt. 2006), and the proposal is now supported by the WWF and the Norfolk Island government. The Australian government has recently rated Norfolk Island very high on its list of the Australian islands in which they are considering the eradication of invasive rodents, with a possible $20 million investment in the chosen islands over a number of years (M. Christian in litt. 2008). Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine a method for finding the birds reliably and conduct thorough surveys to estimate the remaining population size. Survey both native and introduced vegetation, as some recent reports refer to the latter (R. Holdaway in litt. 2012). Establish cooperative rodent control programmes throughout Norfolk Island, with a view to rat eradication throughout the island (G. Dutson in litt. 2012). Enhance rat baiting and cat trapping on Norfolk Island and monitor their efficacy. If birds are located, perhaps consider whether establishing a captive-breeding population is feasible. Continue to restore native habitat across Norfolk Island. Introduce to Phillip Island following revegetation. Gain support and funding from external sources to facilitate conservation actions.
The white-chested white-eye (Zosterops albogularis) also known as white-breasted white-eye or Norfolk white-eye is a passerine from the family Zosteropidae. It is endemic to Norfolk Island between New Caledonia and New Zealand and it is regarded as either extremely rare or possibly extinct. Since 2000 the Australian government has considered the species extinct.
It reaches a length up 13 to 14 centimetres and therefore it is one of the largest white-eyes. The wingspan is 7.5 cm and the weight is about 30 grams. Its appearance is characterized by a pale green head, an olive green coloured neck and white throat and belly parts. A further feature is a conspicuous eye ring of white feathers. Males and females are coloured similarly. Its diet consists of fruits, berries, nectar, and insects. Its only habitat is a 5 km² large forested area around Mount Pitt on Norfolk Island where it lives solitary. In the breeding season from October to December the couple build a cup-shaped nest in which two white eggs are laid. The incubation time lasts eleven days and another eleven days later the juveniles became fully fledged.
The largest threats are habitat destruction and invasive species. The decline of the white-chested white-eye began as the introduced silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) became naturalized on Norfolk Island. It displaced the white-chested white-eye from its breeding range. From the 1940s rats destroyed the nests and clearing of the forests led to a severe decline in the population to only 50 individuals in 1962. In 1986 the Norfolk Island National Park was established to save this bird from extinction, but because of the fluctuation of this species, surveys often remained unsuccessful. In 1978 only four individuals were monitored, and a sighting in 2000 resulted in one individual; bird watchers claimed to have seen the bird in 2005, however official surveys have not recorded the species since 1980. A predator-exclusion fence was built around the last remained habitat in the Norfolk Island National Park. A survey by ornithologist Guy Dutson in 2009 failed to find any individuals.
- BirdLife International (2013). "Zosterops albogularis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Department of the Environment and Heritage. EPBC Act List of Threatened Fauna
- Hirschfeld, E. (editor) (2007): Rare Birds Yearbook 2008, Magdig Media Ltd., Shrewsbury, England ISBN 978-0-9552607-3-5
- Department of the Environment and Heritage. What the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) means for Norfolk Island
- Guy Dutson: The Ghost Birds of Norfolk Island
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