The avifauna of Makira (San Cristobal), Solomon Islands

John C. Mittermeier, Guy Dutson, Roger E. James, Tammy E. Davies, Reuben Tako, J. Albert C. Uy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The island of Makira in the eastern Solomon Islands is a globally significant priority for bird conservation and, like other islands in Melanesia, its avifauna plays an important role in understanding patterns of biogeography and speciation. Large portions of the island have rarely been visited by ornithologists, however, and published natural history information is limited for many species. We conducted field surveys, interviews, and camera trapping on Makira from October 2015 to February 2016, including the first ornithological surveys in southern Makira. We identify minor differences between the bird communities in the southern and northern parts of the island and report on noteworthy natural history observations, including nest descriptions for Yellow-legged Pigeon (Columba pallidiceps) and Shade Warbler (Horornis parens). We did not detect 3 endangered terrestrial species (Makira Woodhen Gallinula silvestris, Thick-billed Ground-Dove Gallicolumba salamonis, and White-bibbed Ground-Dove Gallicolumba jobiensis), and all 3 are probably extinct on Makira. High numbers of invasive species are present throughout Makira's forests, in particular rats (Rattus spp.), which were found at all our survey sites and accounted for nearly 34% of camera trap images, and cats (Felis catus), which were recorded at all sites that received >75 camera-days of survey effort. The widespread presence of invasive predators in remote and unlogged forests helps explain the disappearance of native species from the island. Controlling unregulated logging and protecting the remaining lowland forest in southern Makira is now the most important priority for biodiversity conservation on the island. In addition to our own observations, we review findings from other ornithological fieldwork on Makira and provide a comprehensive list of 114 bird species recorded on the island.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-255
Number of pages21
JournalWilson Journal of Ornithology
Volume130
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Biogeography
  • Conservation
  • Endemic species
  • Makira
  • Makira Woodhen
  • Shade Warbler
  • Solomon Islands birds
  • Yellow-legged Pigeon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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  • Cite this

    Mittermeier, J. C., Dutson, G., James, R. E., Davies, T. E., Tako, R., & Uy, J. A. C. (2018). The avifauna of Makira (San Cristobal), Solomon Islands. Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 130(1), 235-255. https://doi.org/10.1676/16-194.1