Tag Archives: Phaethon lepturus ssp. dorotheae

Did parakeets once inhabit the Tuamotu Islands?

Parakeets of the genus Cyanoramphus are known to once have existed in French Polynesia, namely on the Austral- and the Society Islands. Is it possible that one or more species of that genus once also have existed on the Tuamotu Archipelago?

Well, actually, it absolutely is, but there is yet no actual indication of it; or maybe there is one …:

In a count of Tuamotuan bird names from the 1940s the name petea is given as coming “from an informant in the western Tuamotus, who said it was like the petea of Tahiti.” [1] and that is probably the name of a parakeet. Maybe this informant just gave that name and told the author that it is given to a long-tailed bird that is also found on Tahiti, who knows?

Well, a short check informs us that petea or rather pete’a is indeed a Tahitian bird name but actually for the White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus ssp. dorotheae Mathews) which in fact is not a parakeet, unfortunately.


So, while the former occurrence of parakeets on at least some of the atolls and islands in the giant Tuamotuan Archipelago seems absolutely possible, we have yet no real proof of that … and probably never will. 

But we can let our imagination run wild, why not?!



[1] Kenneth P. Emory: Tuamotuan bird names. The Journal of the Polynesian Society 56(2): 188-196. 1947


edited: 07.07.2023