Justification of Red List Category
This species, known only from the island of Ua Pou in the Marquesas, French Polynesia, was last recorded in 1985 despite searches in 1989, 1990, 1998 and 1999. Habitat loss and degradation, owing to over-grazing and fires, as well as predation by introduced mammals may have driven the species to extinction. However, a recent unconfirmed report of an adult male observed on Ua Pou in 2010 has raised hopes that the species may be extant and so it is now listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct). Further surveys since then, however, have failed to find the species.
Any remaining population is presumed to be tiny.
The paucity of recent confirmed sightings make it very difficult to estimate a population trend, and in effect the trend is unknown.
Pomarea mira was formerly endemic to the island of Ua Pou in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. The last record was in March 1985, when two birds in immature plumage were seen in Hakahetau valley (Thibault and Meyer 2001). It was not located during 1989, 1990 or during intensive searches in 1998 and 1999 (Anon. 1998, Thibault and Meyer 2001), and has been considered Extinct ever since. However, a bird matching the monarch's description was observed by a walker on the island in 2010. Confirmation of the record would represent a remarkable rediscovery of a bird thought certain to be extinct, however surveys of Ua Pou in 2012, 2013 and 2016 failed to locate any birds, and any remaining population must be tiny (P. Raust in litt. 2012, 2013, Ghestemme et al. 2015 per C. Blanvillain in litt. 2016, Blanvillain et al. 2016 unpublished report).
This mainly insectivorous species occurred in forested valleys at high elevations and in degraded forest at all altitudes (probably originally preferring lowland forests which are now destroyed).
Introduced species are likely to have played a role in the species's demise, especially rat species such as Black Rat Rattus rattus. Feral cats could also have an impact on the species, but Black Rat is probably the key threat (C. Blanvillain in litt. 2016). All the Marquesas Islands have been devastated by intense grazing and fire, and much of the original dry forest has been reduced to grassland, and upland forest to relict forest patches.
Conservation measures underway
Surveys of the island took place in 2012, 2013 and 2016, but failed to locate the species (P. Raust in litt. 2012, 2013, Ghestemme et al. 2015 per C. Blanvillain in litt. 2016, Blanvillain et al. 2016 unpublished report).
Conservation measures proposed
Conduct further surveys to locate any remaining populations and, if found, urgently assess action required for its recovery.
Text account compilers
Westrip, J., Temple, H., Derhé, M., Mahood, S., Khwaja, N., Symes, A.
Raust, P., Meyer, J.-Y. & Blanvillain, C.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Pomarea mira. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/01/2020.