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1 March 2018 The avifauna of Makira (San Cristobal), Solomon Islands
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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.

John C. Mittermeier, Guy Dutson, Roger E. James, Tammy E. Davies, Reuben Tako, and J. Albert C. Uy "The avifauna of Makira (San Cristobal), Solomon Islands," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 130(1), 235-255, (1 March 2018). https://doi.org/10.1676/16-194.1
Received: 26 October 2016; Accepted: 29 April 2017; Published: 1 March 2018
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