Tag Archives: Erythrura trichroa ssp. clara

The ‘Blue Parrotfinch’ of Micronesia

The ‘Blue Parrotfinch’ of Micronesia is actually not really a mysterious bird, it is just the Blue-faced Parrotfinch (Erythrura trichroa (Kittlitz)).

This species inhabits northern Australia, New Guinea, the Maluku Islands, parts of Melanesia and, not least, the Micronesian islands, where it is found today on Chuuk, Kosrae, Palau, and Pohnpei; it very likely was once more widespread and did also inhabit the atolls surrounding these islands, especially those between Chuuk and Pohnpei, which share the same subspecies (ssp. clara Taka-Tsukasa & Yamashina). 

The following sentence was taken from an account by J. D. E. Schmeltz and R. Krause from 1881 and apparently refers to the Satawan atoll (unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on the original).:

Ein verschlagenes Exemplar der Erythrura trichroa schoss K. [Kubary] einmal hier.” [1][2]


“K. shoot a stray specimen of the Erythrura trichroa here once.”


This species is now mainly found in the higher parts of the abovementioned islands, but very likely was more widespread once, and it is absloutely possible, I guess, that it also inhabited at least some of the atolls between the islands, like so many other Micronesian land birds do.


The name ‘Blue Parrotfinch’ refers to a specimen that was collected on Pohnpei and was kept in spirit for some years, thus it lost its green color and its plumage turned into a plain blue; this specimen was later described in 1876 as a distinct species, Erythrura glauca Finsch (see photo).



[1] J. D. E. Schmeltz; R. Krause: Ein Beitrag zur Kunde der Südsee-Völker. Die Ethnographisch- Anthropologische Abtheilung des Museum Godeffroy in Hamburg. L. Friederichsen & Co., Hamburg 1881
[2] Donald W. Buden: The birds of Satawan Atoll and the Mortlock Islands, Chuuk, including the first record of Tree Martin Hirundo nigricans in Micronesia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 126(2): 137-152. 2006


Pohnpei Blue-faced Parrotfinch (Erythrura trichroa ssp. clara) from Pohnpei 

Photo: Naturalis Biodiversity Center

(no copyright)


edited: 29.07.2020