Pomarea fluxa Murphy & Mathews

Eiao Flycatcher (Pomarea fluxa)

The Central Polynesian flycatcher species are all restricted to native forests, they inhabit small territories, which they aggressively defend against congeners, including their own offspring.

All these species lay only a single egg, which, of course, is very vulnerable to predation by introduced rats.

The few still existing species are all close to extinction, and perhaps many species are already extinct without leaving even a single trace of their former existence! The islands of Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, and Rarotonga in the Cook Archipelago for example, as well as Bora Bora, Huahine, Maupiti, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti, and Taha’a in the Society Archipelago may once all have had local species of the genus Pomarea, yet only three of them are definitively known!

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This species, the Eiao Flycatcher, as its name implies, inhabited the island of Eiao in the north of the Marquesas Archipelago. It was described in the year 1928, and was considered a subspecies of the Iphis Flycatcher (Pomarea iphis (Murphy & Mathews)) from the island of Ua Huka for a long time, which, in a geographical context, makes not much sense.

The bird reached a size of about 17 cm, the sexes differed in their coloration, the males had a black head and neck and black wings, the back and the throat were mottled black and white, while the females were brownish above and whitish below, with the throat heavily streaked brown.

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References:

[1] H. D. Pratt; P. L. Bruner; D. G. Berrett: A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press 1987

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