Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a small and fragmented island distribution and is likely to continue to decline owing to ongoing depredation by black rats and, to a lesser extent, cats. However, there is some evidence that the population is stable, in which case it would qualify for a lower threat category.
When recent survey data is combined, the global population is estimated at around 7,000-9,000 individuals, or perhaps 5,000-7,000 mature individuals.
There are few data on population trends; however, the species has been gradually lost from each island where cats, black rats or Swamp Harriers have colonised. A slow to moderate population decline is therefore suspected.
Vini peruviana is widely but unevenly distributed in south-east Polynesia where it has been recorded from c.20 islands, but is now extinct on several of these (Holyoak and Thibault 1984). Its range includes the Society Islands (formerly all), the northern atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago (both French Polynesia), and Aitutaki (Cook Islands). In the Society Islands, there were possibly up to 250 and 350-400 pairs on Motu One and Manuae respectively in 1973 (Holyoak and Thibault 1984), and it has been observed on Maupihaa in 1999, where it was thought to have been extinct (either a rediscovered subpopulation or a recent recolonisation) (Te Manu 1999 27: 1, Te Manu 1999 28: 3). In the Tuamotus, there are relatively recent records (2006 estimates in brackets from Raust and Ziembicki ) from Kaukura (1,000), Rangiroa (1,000), Arutua (500), Apataki (200), Tikehau (50) (Holyoak and Thibault 1984, Lovegrove et al. 1989) and Tiamanu Motu in Apataki atoll where a minimum 300 individuals were estimated in 1989 (this subpopulation being allegedly smaller than 10 years previously) (Lovegrove et al. 1989). On Aitutaki, where it was probably introduced, numbers have been estimated at under 500 pairs (Wilson 1993), 2,400 individuals and 1,000 individuals (Raust and Ziembicki 2006). The apparent differences may be attributable to differing census techniques (G. McCormack verbally 1999). Following the devastation of Cyclone Pat on Aitutaki in 2010, the population was estimated at c.1,400 birds by distance sampling (Jennings 2011).
It is typically found in lowland forest, mixed stands of native and cultivated trees, flowering plants, coconut, and banana plantations and gardens, where it feeds on nectar, soft fruit and flowers (Pratt et al. 1987, Collar 1997).
The species's extinction from many islands is most likely due to predation by black rat Rattus rattus and to a lesser extent, feral cats Felis catus (Lovegrove et al. 1989); its extinction from Makatea in the Tuamotus could have been accelerated by a particularly violent hurricane (Thibault and Guyot 1987). Its range reduction in the Society Islands correlates with the spread of the introduced Swamp Harrier Circus approximans (Holyoak and Thibault 1984). The accidental introduction of black rats to the islands where Blue Lorikeet persists is a continuing threat to the species.
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. On Aitutaki, where extensive trapping in 1994 indicated the absence of R. rattus, the species has been surveyed several times including by local high-school students using a simplified technique (McCormack 1997).
18 cm. Chunky lorikeet mostly very dark blue (often looks black) with white cheeks and bib. Red bill, eyes and feet. Voice Very high-pitched hissing screech scheee-scheee, usually doubled.
Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Harding, M., O'Brien, A., Shutes, S. & Stattersfield, A.
Pilgrim, J. & Gouni, A.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Vini peruviana. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2020.