• Scientific Name: Vini kuhlii (Vigors, 1824)
  • Polynesian Names: Vini ‘ura, ‘ura (Society), ‘ura vaero (Rimatara)
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Category: Endemic Birds

Apearance and identification

7 inches. Male and female identical in appearance. Adult birds have cheeks, chest and front of the belly covered with bright red. The top of the body has different shades of green with the exception of a dark blue bar on the neck. The tail is blue on outside, red in the centre and the rump is bright yellow. A violet-blue zone is also present on the stomach around the legs. The beak and legs are orange, the tail is short. Juvenile birds have barred blue or brown chest.

Videos

Voice

Characteristics

Initially present in Rimatara (Austral Islands) and Teraina Tabuaeran (Line Islands), few individuals were released on Kiritimati, another of the Line Islands in an attempt to introduce the species (or reintroduce – it is not known if this bird was once present on this island). Fossil remains have been found in the Cook Islands. It was re-introduced on Atiu in 2007 and the black rat-free island has a hundred individual now. Some individuals left Atiu and settled on Mitiaro, they would present a dozen but the black rat is present on this island.

The black rat, Rattus rattus (most arboreal rats) has not colonized the islands of Rimatara and Teraina where his arrival would represent a very serious threat to the species. Currently, bird populations are present on Rimatara (700-1400 individuals) Teraina (1000-1600 individuals) and Tabuaeran (about fifty individuals). Some birds still live on Kiritimati where the presence of the black rat jeopardizes the chances of establishing a viable population. The black rat is present on Tabuaeran and not present on Terainia, which largely explains these differences in numbers. On 15 April 2002 the cargo Vaeanu II ran aground on the island of Rimatara. No rats were found on board, however it must remain a major concern because some rats may have set foot on the island during the shipwreck.

Occurs in March, April and August. They nest in the trunks of coconut trees or fara (Pandanus tectorius) or in cavities of hotu and falcata. Sometimes one or two rectangular openings mark the entrance of the nest. The only nestling found were two young individuals.

Forested areas with a preference for crops, valley floors, gardens and villages.

Hissing sound, long and sharp, frequently issued on one or two tones.

Nectar and pollen from flowers of banana (Musa sp.), Kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra), pacayers (Inga edulis), mango (Mangifera indica), avocado (Persea americana), coconut (Cocos nucifera), Cordyline (Cordyline fructicosa), hotu (Barringtonia asiatica), tafano (Guettarda speciosa), ahi’a popa’a (Syzygium jambos) and atae (Erythrina variegata).
Small seeds of purau (Hibiscus tiliaceus) and aito (Casuarina equisetifolia). Axillary buds and young shoots of hotu, purau and falcata (Paraserianthes falcataria). They lick the surface of banana leaves.
Their sharp movements from branches to branches of certain trees without flower or fruit (including dead coconut palms) as their penchant for digging small cavities – obviously too shallow to serve as a nest – can suggest they could be insectivores.

Location

Initially present in Rimatara (Austral Islands) and Teraina Tabuaeran (Line Islands), few individuals were released on Kiritimati, another of the Line Islands in an attempt to introduce the species (or reintroduce – it is not known if this bird was once present on this island). Fossil remains have been found in the Cook Islands. It was re-introduced on Atiu in 2007 and the black rat-free island has a hundred individual now. Some individuals left Atiu and settled on Mitiaro, they would present a dozen but the black rat is present on this island.

The black rat, Rattus rattus (most arboreal rats) has not colonized the islands of Rimatara and Teraina where his arrival would represent a very serious threat to the species. Currently, bird populations are present on Rimatara (700-1400 individuals) Teraina (1000-1600 individuals) and Tabuaeran (about fifty individuals). Some birds still live on Kiritimati where the presence of the black rat jeopardizes the chances of establishing a viable population. The black rat is present on Tabuaeran and not present on Terainia, which largely explains these differences in numbers. On 15 April 2002 the cargo Vaeanu II ran aground on the island of Rimatara. No rats were found on board, however it must remain a major concern because some rats may have set foot on the island during the shipwreck.

Breeding

Occurs in March, April and August. They nest in the trunks of coconut trees or fara (Pandanus tectorius) or in cavities of hotu and falcata. Sometimes one or two rectangular openings mark the entrance of the nest. The only nestling found were two young individuals.

Habitat

Forested areas with a preference for crops, valley floors, gardens and villages.

Voice

Hissing sound, long and sharp, frequently issued on one or two tones.

Food

Nectar and pollen from flowers of banana (Musa sp.), Kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra), pacayers (Inga edulis), mango (Mangifera indica), avocado (Persea americana), coconut (Cocos nucifera), Cordyline (Cordyline fructicosa), hotu (Barringtonia asiatica), tafano (Guettarda speciosa), ahi’a popa’a (Syzygium jambos) and atae (Erythrina variegata).
Small seeds of purau (Hibiscus tiliaceus) and aito (Casuarina equisetifolia). Axillary buds and young shoots of hotu, purau and falcata (Paraserianthes falcataria). They lick the surface of banana leaves.
Their sharp movements from branches to branches of certain trees without flower or fruit (including dead coconut palms) as their penchant for digging small cavities – obviously too shallow to serve as a nest – can suggest they could be insectivores.

Status and protection

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 but “Critically Endangered” (CR) on the France and Polynesia 2015 IUCN Red List.

https://inpn.mnhn.fr/espece/cd_nom/432653/tab/statut

It is also listed in Appendix II of the Washington Convention.

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