• Scientific Name: Aerodramus ocistus (Oberholser, 1906)
  • Polynesian Names: Kopeka (Marquises), kope’a (groupe Sud), kopekapeka (groupe Nord)
  • Order : Apodiformes
  • Family : Apodidae
  • CategoryEndemic Birds
  • DLocation: Marquesas (Eiao, Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Fatu Huku, Tahuata, Mohotani, Fatu Hiva)

Apearance and identification

4 inches. Entirely black except for the top of the tail which has a grey area. The species is less slender compared with the Tahitian one (Aerodramus leucophaeus), but it cannot be confused with the swallows, which are absent from the Marquesas.

Videos

Voice

Characteristics

Marquesas (Eiao, Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Fatu Huku, Tahuata, Mohotani, Fatu Hiva).

Colonies are composed of 2 to over 100 nests that are more or less exposed to light. The nests can be packet or scattered along a wall. The nest is made of moss and feathers. The female lays a single white egg (22 x 15 mm).

Nest in caves at sea level in Nuku Hiva, in cavities, and even under the roofs of churches. Hunts in the early morning or late evening in valleys up to 1000 m altitude.

Soft and long whistling with two-tones reminiscent of the swallows singing in spring in France.

Insects caught in flight.

Location

Marquesas (Eiao, Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Fatu Huku, Tahuata, Mohotani, Fatu Hiva).

Breeding

Colonies are composed of 2 to over 100 nests that are more or less exposed to light. The nests can be packet or scattered along a wall. The nest is made of moss and feathers. The female lays a single white egg (22 x 15 mm).

Habitat

Nest in caves at sea level in Nuku Hiva, in cavities, and even under the roofs of churches. Hunts in the early morning or late evening in valleys up to 1000 m altitude.

Voice

Soft and long whistling with two-tones reminiscent of the swallows singing in spring in France.

Food

Insects caught in flight.

Status and protection

Considered extinct or nearly extinct in Hiva Oa where other birds were introduced. It is still present in large numbers on Nuku Hiva and Ua Huka. Observed in fewer numbers on the island of Tahuata. Also present on Ua Pou, Eiao.Extremely rare on Fatu Hiva and Fatu Huku.  Not present on Mohotani.

The species remains broadly common for the moment.
The species is listed in category A of the list of species protected by the territorial regulations of French Polynesia.
It is classified as « Least Concern » (LC) on the France and Polynesia 2015 UICN Red List.

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