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Near-Threatened An endemic bird of Tristan da Cunha and nearby Nightingale and Inaccessible islands in the South Atlantic, each inhabited by a separate subspecies. Catholic in its habitat and food choice, but nevertheless rare on Tristan, where the numbers are probably kept low by introduced rats or other predators. In about 1973, the population was estimated at 40-60 birds on Tristan (nominate eremita), 100-500 on Inaccessible (ssp. gordoni), and 330-560 on Nightingale and its satellite islets (ssp. procax). However, the Tristan population has recently roughly been estimated to count at least several hundreds and those of Inaccessible at 850 birds. With such a restricted distribution, the species is vulnerable for extinction due to natural disasters or the introduction of alien predators.
Items in the ZMA - 6 birds:
ZMA 14288 Unsexed adult, Nov 1958, Nightingale I. (c. 37°28'S, 12°32'W), Tristan da Cunha group, S Atlantic, coll. N. Scheer, received 1958, skin.
ZMA 14568-14569 Adults, male & female (a breeding pair), 17 May 1958, Settlement of Edinburgh (37°02'S, 12°18'W), Tristan da Cunha I., S Atlantic, coll. N. Scheer, skins.
ZMA 14571-14572 Adults, male & female (a breeding pair), 16 Sep 1959, Nightingale I. (c. 37°28'S, 12°32'W), Tristan da Cunha group, S Atlantic, coll. N. Scheer, skins.
ZMA 14575 Adult male, 3 May 1959, Plateau of Inaccessible I. (c. 37°19'S, 12°44'W), Tristan da Cunha group, S Atlantic, coll. N. Scheer, skin.
Nominate eremita from Tristan da Cunha differs conspiciously from procax from Nightingale, the Tristan birds being warm dark brown on the upperparts (procax dull sooty-brown), rufous on the side of the head (procax dark fuscous), and rufous-brown on the underparts (procax sooty brownish-black). The single bird of gordoni from Inaccessible is intermediate in tinge between nominate eremita and procax (e.g., the side of the head is speckled rufous and fuscous). See also Voous (1962) for remarks on the subspecies and for measurements of our specimens.
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