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Threatened species
Recent extinctions

Other Examples of Bird Extinctions
Bonin Wood Pigeon (Columba versicolor): Extinct since 1889. Last specimen taken on the Japanese Island of Nakondo Shima. A pale wood pigeon with a metallic golden-purple back and head, green neck and rump. Feeding and ecology similar to most wood pigeons. It was endemic to just a few islands in the Baum Island archipelago south of Japan, Nakondo Shima, Peel Island and Kittlitz. It is believed that habitat destruction was the main cause of extinction.

Tahitian Sandpiper (Prosobonia leucoptera): Extinct since probably the late 1700s early 1800s,this species was/is known from only one specimen in a museum in Leyden, Holland. It was a small 7 inches long dark brown bird turning rusty on lower portions. It was an endemic of Tahiti and Eimes and apparently frequented small streams. It is believed that it was the introduction of rats and pigs to the islands where it lived that caused its demise.

Crested Sheldrake or Shellduck (Tadorna cristata): Extinct (probably), last seen 1916 when a specimen was taken near Fusan, Korea. Searches in more recent years have failed to find any other specimens. It is not known what its full range was, it was known from Korea and Japan and was painted by Japanese artists. It is supposed to have bred in eastern Siberia. Similar in size to the common shellduck/drake (Tadorna tadorna) it had a distinctive head, green on top and grey below in the male and black on top whitish below in the female, otherwise it had a green lower need and upper chest, the rest of the chest, the back and the belly being dark grey otherwise similar to a common Sheldrake (the male). The female differs by having a black ring around the eye.

The Cuban Red Macaw or Guacamayo (Ara tricolor): Now extinct, it was last seen in 1864. an endemic to Cuba, it was small, 20 cms long, mostly red and yellow with some blue and purple. They lived in the vicinity of the Zapata Swamp and nested in holes in palm trees. Though the natives were believed to eat them no reasons are recorded for their extinction.

Guadeloupe Island Caracara (Polyborus lutosus): Last seen 1 December 1900 this was a large brown hawk endemic to Guadeloupe, it had a black head and a grey tail and is believed to have descended from Polyborus prelutosus. It was a generalist predator and fed on anything that was available from insects, worms and shellfish to small birds and mammals. The natives bred goats and believed that the birds killed the kids so for this reason the natives hunted it ruthlessly. In the 1800's guns and poisons became easier and cheaper to acquire and gave the natives the ability to exterminate the birds. This is one of the few, if not the only case of a bird species being deliberately brought to extinction. In this case it is perhaps ironic that the goats its extermination was designed to protect were an introduced species already doing considerable damage to the environment.

Mysterious Starling (Aplonis mavornata): This extinct bird is known on from one specimen in the British Museum. Nothing is known of it except that it was probably collected on one of Captain Cook's voyages. It is not even known which Pacific Island it lived on, though now it is found on none.

Most information on this page was contributed by EarthLife. 

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Last updated: 01 January 2003