First records of Wallace’s Hanging-parrot Loriculus flosculus from Rinca Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia.
First records of Wallace’s Hanging-parrot Loriculus flosculus
from Rinca Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia.
M. JERI IMANSYAH, DENI PURWADANA and TIM S. JESSOP
A paper submitted to the Forktail
Wallace’s Hanging-parrot Loriculus flosculus is a small parrot endemic to Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara, primarily in tropical semi-evergreen, and moist-deciduous rain forest (250–1,000 m), at the west and eastern parts of the island (BirdLife International 2003, 2004, Coates and Bishop 1997). This parrot is considered endangered because it has a small global range and probably a small population which is threatened by ongoing conversion of tropical forest habitats on Flores (BirdLife International 2003, 2004). Here we detail two independent records (in 2003 and 2006) extending its range westwards to Rinca Island, within Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Rinca Island (205 km2) is dominated by monsoon savanna (55% of land area), except in the south, which is predominantly covered by tropical dry deciduous forest. The elevation is 0–765 m. The island is separated from adjacent West Flores by a narrow strait only 400 m wide.
At 10h00 on 28 April 2003, in Loh Dasami valley (8°46¢19.9¢¢S 119°39¢15.6¢¢E; at about 10–20 m altitude), two green parrots were observed in flight below the canopy of coastal moist deciduous forest (Monk et al. 1997) area in the south of Rinca Island. The forest was dominated by Pterospermum javanicum (Sterculiaceae), a tree that can reach 25 m in height (Rudiharto 2006). The parrots were followed to a roosting tree. The birds were estimated to be c.10–12 cm in length and the predominant colour was bright green. They possessed a dark red nape, bright red rump, red uppertail-coverts, and bright red bills, confirming that these birds were Wallace’s Hanging-parrots. They were readily distinguished from the uniformly green plumage of the Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematoduis (race weberi, endemic to Flores Island; Coates and Bishop 1997). Furthermore, we noted differences in the plumage of the two birds, with one possessing a red spot at the throat, whilst the throat of the other was entirely pale green, similar to the rest of the ventral plumage. During these initial observations both birds produced a distinct strrt strrt call. These morphological and vocal characteristics are consistent with descriptions for adult male (red spot on throat) and female (red throat spot smaller or absent) Wallace’s Hanging-parrot (Butchart et al. 1996, Coates and Bishop 1997).
We made further observations on nesting activities of an adult male and a female on 12 April 2006 (09h00–10h00 and 12h00–13h00), at the same location. The nest was situated in a tree hollow (c.10 cm wide) in a dead branch c.15 m above ground in a Terminalia catappa (Combretaceae) tree. Male and female birds were observed alternating in nest activities, and when one of them was inside the nest hollow, the other bird was waiting outside. Each bird spent c.10–15 minutes in the hollow at a time. The nest was in close proximity to several large Ficus spp. (Moraceae) trees, a known food source of this parrot (although we did not observe the birds feeding on fruit).
The closest known part of Flores Hanging-parrot’s range to our observations is the western part of Flores island which includes the areas of Golo Bilas, Wae Bobok (Nggorang Bowosie, East of Labuan Bajo), Tanjung Kerita Mese, Puarlolo, and Paku (Mbeliling forest, South of Labuan Bajo, a proposed area for protected area gazettement) (BirdLife International, 2003, 2004) (Fig. 1). Our observations extend the western extremity of the species’ range by approximately 27 km and also indicate that this parrot can utilize suitable habitat close to sea level, contrasting with observations on Flores, where records have been above 250 m in generally wetter forest types (Coates and Bishop 1997, BirdLife International 2003, 2004). Our observations suggest that it would be valuable to survey a broader range of tropical forest habitats at key sites such as Mbeliling and Nggorang Bowosie on Flores for this species, and carry out a targeted survey for this species on Rinca. Monitoring and nest surveys by Komodo National Park staff would be valuable. Our record also increases the number of parrot species inhabiting Komodo National Park to two. The other parrot species (so far recorded) is the critically endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea. Komodo National Park contains the largest remaining population of the race C. s. parvula (Coates & Bishop 1997, Birdlife International 2004, Imansyah et al. 2005).
Figure 1. Recent localities for Wallace’s Hanging-parrot on Flores and Rinca island. Inset showing map of Nusa Tenggara: the arrow indicates Komodo National Park.
We thank Achmad Ariefiandy, Ibrahim Payung and Devi S. Opat for their assistance during field work. Financial support was provided by a Millennium Post Doctoral Fellowship from the Zoological Society of San Diego (ZSSD) to TSJ. Approval for the research was granted under a MOU between ZSSD and The Nature Conservancy (Indonesia Program) and by the Indonesian Department of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA).
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M. Jeri Imansyah and Deni Purwandana, Center for Research of Endangered Species, the Zoological Society of San Diego, Escondido, CA, USA, and Komodo Survival Program, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim S. Jessop, Center for Research of Endangered Species, the Zoological Society of San Diego, Escondido, CA, USA, and Dept. of Wildlife Conservation and Science, Zoos Victoria, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.