• Scientific Name: Acrocephalus caffer (Sparrman, 1786)
  • Polynesian Names: ‘Otatare, oma, mamomo (Tahiti), omaomao (Huahine), komako (Moorea), otiotio, manumanu, manu’ofe (Société)
  • OrderPasseriformes
  • FamilyAcrocephalidae
  • Category: Endemic Birds
  • LocationSociété (Tahiti uniquement)

Apearance and identification

8 inches. Male and female identical in appearance. This species presents phases of different colours. The light coloured individuals are pale yellow on the belly and head. Crest, wings and tail are slightly darker. A black stripe through the eye, stretches towards the back. Some black areas tend to grey with lighter spots on the belly. The blackest individuals are often confused with the Tahiti Monarch (Pomarea nigra) which is much rarer. The beak of this warbler is particularly elongated. It is brown to black, including the legs (while the Tahiti Monarch’s beak is much shorter, slate grey and white with blue legs).

Videos

Voice

Characteristics

Once present in Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea and Huahine. This species of warbler had long been considered extinct in all the islands except in Tahiti. However, testimonies confirmed in 2002 that it was still present in Moorea (Acrocephalus longirostris).

From July to December with perhaps a second breeding season from February to June. Cup shaped nest of 10 cm diameter. It is located between 3 and 5 meters in height in different trees (ofe, purau). Spawning consists of 2 to 5 pale blue eggs dotted with dark spots.

Purau groves (Hibiscus tiliaceus) and ofe (Schizostachyum glaucifolium) below 800 meters, often near rivers. Sometimes present in coconut plantations.

Varied whistled notes. This is the most melodious endemic birds still alive on the Tahiti island. “Chrou …” repeated several times as an alarm.

Seeds, insects, lizards and molluscs (snails and slugs) hunted on the ground or in trees.

Location

Once present in Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea and Huahine. This species of warbler had long been considered extinct in all the islands except in Tahiti. However, testimonies confirmed in 2002 that it was still present in Moorea (Acrocephalus longirostris).

Breeding

From July to December with perhaps a second breeding season from February to June. Cup shaped nest of 10 cm diameter. It is located between 3 and 5 meters in height in different trees (ofe, purau). Spawning consists of 2 to 5 pale blue eggs dotted with dark spots.

Habitat

Purau groves (Hibiscus tiliaceus) and ofe (Schizostachyum glaucifolium) below 800 meters, often near rivers. Sometimes present in coconut plantations.

Voice

Varied whistled notes. This is the most melodious endemic birds still alive on the Tahiti island. “Chrou …” repeated several times as an alarm.

Food

Seeds, insects, lizards and molluscs (snails and slugs) hunted on the ground or in trees.

Status and protection

The species is threatened of extinction. It is presumed extinct everywhere except in Tahiti and Moorea. Constructions in the Tahitian valleys (hydroelectric dams, roads, riprap, buildings, etc …) cause progressive destruction of its habitat. Introduced species such as rats, cats, Swamp Harrier, Circus approximans, Merle Maluku Acridotheres tristis also contribute to its scarcity. The causes of its extinction on the other islands are unknown.

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.