‘ESA protections not warranted for Tinian bird’

Posted on Dec 21 2018

HONOLULU, Hawaii—The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced yesterday that re-listing a forest bird known as the Tinian monarch as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted at this time.

The USFW reviewed the best available information to evaluate the current status of the bird and stressors it faces throughout its range.

Originally listed in 1970, the Tinian monarch was removed from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife in 2004. In 2013, USFW received a petition requesting that the Tinian monarch be re-listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA.

USFW said it completed a rigorous Species Status Assessment and found that the Tinian monarch population remains stable and healthy and does not face the threat of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

The Tinian monarch, or Chuchurican tinian in the Chamorro language, is a forest bird found naturally only on the island of Tinian, now augmented by a small translocated population on the island of Guguan.

This small, six-inch bird is a member of the monarch flycatcher family. It has a light reddish chest and neck, olive brown back, dark brown wings and tail, white wing bars, a white rump, and a white-tipped tail. Tinian monarchs forage and breed in both non-native tangan tangan forests and native limestone forests.

The Tinian monarch was originally listed as an endangered species because the population was extremely small. At the time, the primary threat to the species was thought to be habitat loss that resulted from World War II-era construction and agriculture. However, as soon as tangan tangan forests grew back post-World War II, the Tinian monarch began to thrive. The ability of the Tinian monarch to survive and thrive, despite changes to its habitat and in both native and non-native forests, is a testimony to the hardiness of this unique bird. 

Recent survey data of the Tinian monarch indicate, with the exception of a notable drop in 2008, the species has maintained a stable trend in abundance and density since the 1980s. The most recent survey, conducted in 2013, indicates the population was composed of about 90,600 individuals. Although there are potential future threats to the population, including natural events such as typhoons as well the threats of introduced predators and disease, the bird has maintained a stable, robust population over time.

This finding is available on the Internet at: https://www.federalregister.gov/

More information about may be found at: https://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/. (PR)

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