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Samoan Moorhen - BirdForum Opus

Skull2 t.png The species Samoan Moorhen is possibly extinct.
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Alternative name: Puna'e

Gallinula pacifica


Possibly extinct.

25cm. Sora-sized flightless Rail. Dark plumage with an olive sheen. Neck and head have a blueish hue. Huge eyes (indicating that it is nocturnal perhaps? Then again, it does also live in dark jungles.). Bill is red, with a yellow frontal shield. Legs are pink/red. Wings small and rounded.


Endemic to Savai'i Island (Samoa).


Has not been positively identified since 1873. Sightings reported as recently as 2003. If it does survive, the population, no matter how overlooked, is extremely low, and may no longer be genetically viable. IUCN classes it as Critically Endangered. Introduced predators and to a lesser extent, hunting has contributed to its probable demise. There are currently only eleven skins left in museums internationally.


A monotypic species.


Deep rainforest. Reports (very old at this stage) mention rails running across paths into thick cover. Nearby swamps also would be good places to look, assuming the species still exists.


Very shy and skulking. The natives hunted this species as the meat was very tasty. The Samoan Moorhen is (possibly as a result of this hunting) a very shy, reclusive species. It lives in dark, humid habitat and it massive eyes may indicate a preferred nocturnal nature. The locals remember the distinctive call at night. Nowadays, it is heard no more. It had the unusual behavour of jumping up when disturbed.

Nesting not recorded. However locals mention it was a ground-nesting bird. It made small nests of twigs and grass and laid two eggs only.

Voice Distinctive, low gulping 'ooh-ooh'.

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