The land bird fauna of Stephens Island, New Zealand in the early 1890s, and the cause of its demise
|Title||The land bird fauna of Stephens Island, New Zealand in the early 1890s, and the cause of its demise|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2004|
|Type of Article||paper|
|Keywords||cat predation, extirpations, forest reduction, land birds, Philesturnus c. carunculatus, South Island saddleback, Stephens Island, Stephens Island piopio, Turnagra capensis minor|
Stephens Island provides the classic example in the New Zealand region of the effect that predation by feral cats (Felis catus) can have on an island land bird fauna. Twenty-five species of native New Zealand land birds were recorded on the island in the early 1890s when it was still forested and free of mammalian predators. It is probable that Stephens Island still had its original land bird fauna at that time. The land bird species included large populations of the extinct Stephens Island piopio (Turnagra capensis minor), and the endangered South Island saddleback (Philesturnus c. carunculatus). Cats were introduced to Stephens Island, probably in 1894. They soon became feral and multiplied rapidly. The evidence indicates that cats were responsible for the rapid demise of the native land bird fauna of the island.