• Scientific name: Prosobonia parvirostris (Peale, 1848)
  • Polynesian name: Titi (Marutea sud), kivikivi (Mangareva)
  • Order Charadriiformes
  • Family Scolopacidae
  • Category: Endémic birds
  • Distribution: Tuamotu

Apearance and identification

6 inches. Small Sandpiper with mottled brown fawn grey and beige plumage. The body, throat, chest and belly are lighter. A clear band above the eye clearly delineates a brown cap. A dark stripe through the eye in the extension of the spout. There are individuals with dark plumage and others with clearer plumage. The beak is thin and black. The legs are long and dark. These birds are particularly identifiable by their curious and confident behaviour. They never seem to be aware of any danger as they come running-without fear to the new intruder who may be quickly surrounded by several individuals intrigued. In fact, this behaviour proves disastrous in the presence of potential predators. The flight, has the characteristic of being sometimes almost vertical or stationary.

Videos

Voice

Characteristics

Endemic to the Tuamotu Archipelago. The species is only found in some atolls free of introduced predators: Tenararo, Morane, Tahanea, Reitoru, Anuanuraro, Raraka and Raroia. The numbers varies in each islands a few dozen to several hundred individuals. The islands of Anuanuraro and Nukutavake need to be re-surveyed to verify the presence of the species reported in the 90s.

Little evidence on nesting are available to date. In the eighties, only two nests have been described in for species. The first, found in 1922, consisted of dry grass collected from the shore. The second observation of October 2002. The nest, probably in construction, seemed very regularly visited by birds. It consisted of a simple circular depression (9 cm in diameter and 2 to 3 cm deep) dug into the ground under the coconut palms downed and devoid of any plant debris. Pigs are a direct potential predators. It should be noted that the intrusion of the Polynesian rat in a place still unharmed may cause the complete disappearance of this bird. Any new location is therefore of vital interest to safeguard it and should be reported immediately to the SOP.

Tuamotu atolls where dogs, pigs, cats and rats (whatever the species) are absent. In very pristine islands, they live on both the ocean and lagoon edge rather than in the central forest.

“Titi” successive repeated. A typical song is linked to a parade during which the bird lowers the wings and raises its tail vertically.

Various insects including ants, grasshoppers, beetles. They also seem to consume plant debris, and eat the stamens of pokea (Portulaca lutea). This bird sometimes dip its beak in the petals of naupata flowers (Scaevola taccada) to consume pollen or to catch ants.

Location

Endemic to the Tuamotu Archipelago. The species is only found in some atolls free of introduced predators: Tenararo, Morane, Tahanea, Reitoru, Anuanuraro, Raraka and Raroia. The numbers varies in each islands a few dozen to several hundred individuals. The islands of Anuanuraro and Nukutavake need to be re-surveyed to verify the presence of the species reported in the 90s.

Breeding

Little evidence on nesting are available to date. In the eighties, only two nests have been described in for species. The first, found in 1922, consisted of dry grass collected from the shore. The second observation of October 2002. The nest, probably in construction, seemed very regularly visited by birds. It consisted of a simple circular depression (9 cm in diameter and 2 to 3 cm deep) dug into the ground under the coconut palms downed and devoid of any plant debris. Pigs are a direct potential predators. It should be noted that the intrusion of the Polynesian rat in a place still unharmed may cause the complete disappearance of this bird. Any new location is therefore of vital interest to safeguard it and should be reported immediately to the SOP.

Habitat

Tuamotu atolls where dogs, pigs, cats and rats (whatever the species) are absent. In very pristine islands, they live on both the ocean and lagoon edge rather than in the central forest.

Voice

“Titi” successive repeated. A typical song is linked to a parade during which the bird lowers the wings and raises its tail vertically.

Food

Various insects including ants, grasshoppers, beetles. They also seem to consume plant debris, and eat the stamens of pokea (Portulaca lutea). This bird sometimes dip its beak in the petals of naupata flowers (Scaevola taccada) to consume pollen or to catch ants.

Status and protection

This bird has disappeared from the Gambier and many Tuamotu atolls between the late 19th and the first half of the 20th century.
The species is listed in category A of the list of species protected by the territorial regulations of French Polynesia.
It is classified as “Endangered” (EN) on the IUCN Red List.

Original text by Caroline BLANVILLAIN – Supplements and update by various members of the SOP Manu.