Rapa Nui – the parrots or the parrot?

Well, it seems that I finish this whole Rapa Nui project already in December 2018 ….  

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Anyway, let’s just begin with the first one (or two?) of the endemic landbird species that once inhabited Easter Island.  

There were two parrots once …:  

Parrots are represented by a partial quadrate of a very large species (larger than in Nestor, Prosopeia, Eclectus, or any lorikeet; dissimilar from that in neotropical parrots) and digit I, phalanx 2 of the wing (larger than in Vini or Cyanoramphus, smaller than in Nestor or Eclectus; ca. the size in Prosopeia).” [1]  

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So far so fine, bat my gut feeling almost screams: “ONE!!!” What if this was a very large species, something like a Rapa Nui equivalent of the New Zealand Kakapo (Strigops habroptila Gray), a big, small-winged and flightless ground-dwelling parrot that inhabited the dense forests of the island, now long gone, searching for fallen fruits of the likewise extinct Rapa Nui Palm (Paschalococos disperta (J. Dransf.)).  

The Rapa Nui Parrot may still have been able to climb smaller trees with the help of its typical parrot beak and its feet, and it certainly was a curious and tame bird and was easily killed off by the first Polynesian discoverers of the island.  

This is my reconstruction, well it’s just a sketch so far, and the bird is still probably too small. 🙂    

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References:  

[1] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006  

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edited: 10.12.2018