Rimatara Lorikeet (Vini kuhlii) - Wiki
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[Photo] Rimatara Lorikeet and Atiu headdress. Photo Copyright (c) CINHP, Gerald McCormack & J. Kunzle. Image Source: Rimatara Lorikeet Reintroduction Programme by The Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust.
The Rimatara Lorikeet, Rimitara Lorikeet or Kuhl's Lorikeet (Vini kuhlii) is a species of lorikeet in the Psittacidae family. It is one of several species of Vini lorikeets found in islands ranging across the South Pacific. It is a fast flying lorikeet with vibrant plumage; a green back, wings and crown, a blue nape and legs and bright red undersides and cheeks.
The Rimatara Lorikeet's habitat is natural tropical moist lowland forests and plantations. Like all Vini lorikeets it is a nectarivore, and has a brushy tongue to acquire the nectar. In islands denuded of native forests and covered with extensive coconut plantations it is found exclusively in those areas.
Studies of fossils have shown that it once had a widespread distribution from the Cook Islands to French Polynesia. Its range contracted greatly after the arrival of humans, until the only surviving natural population was on Rimatara in the Tubuai Islands. Like many island species the Kuhl's Lorikeet is threatened by introduced black rats. Its colourful feathers have also meant that the species was regularly hunted. The species was also introduced to several islands in Kiribati. The last native population was protected by a tapu or taboo by the Queen of Rimatara. In 2007 a population was reintroduced to Atiu in the Cook Islands by Birdlife International, the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust and numerous conservation bodies.
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