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GALLERIES > BIRDS > TURNAGRIDAE > NORTH ISLAND PIOPIO [Turnagra tanagra]


North Island Piopio Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The North Island Piopio, Turnagra tanagra, was a passerine bird of the Turnagridae family. The North Island Piopio is now considered to be extinct. The M?ori names were piopio-kata (also transcribed as tiutiu-kata), and in the Kaipara dialect, korohea.

Taxonomy

For many years, the North Island Piopio was considered to be conspecific with the South Island Piopio, but the two are now regarded as two separate species due to their pronounced differences in external appearance and apparently also osteology (Olson et al., 1983).

Extinction

The North Island Piopio was endemic to the North Island of New Zealand and was described by Walter Buller as being common in 1873, although only a few specimens were ever collected, and it declined rapidly after that time (Buller, 1888). The last specimens were collected in 1900, or more probably in 1885/1886 (Medway, 1968), and only around 27 remain in existence today. Occasional sight records of people claiming to have seen the bird (e.g. Sopp, 1957) persisted until 1970 (Bell & Singleton, 1974; Olsen 1993), but the North Island Piopio is considered extinct nowadays. Its last stronghold appears to have been the area that later became the Whanganui National Park, possibly extending northeast to the Hauhungaroa Range west of Lake Taupo. The introduction of foreign predatory mammals such as cats and rats to New Zealand's North Island is mostly to blame for the North Island Piopio's extinction, with habitat loss and predation by mustelids also being significant from the 1880s onwards.





                                     



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