Wednesday 23 November 2022

Wild Bird Wednesday 539 - Lord Howe Woodhen

I mentioned the Lord Howe Woodhen (Gallirallus sylvestris) in last week's post, so I thought I would share some pictures of this species.

Lord Howe Island is about 780 km northeast of Sydney, in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand.  As with many isolated islands it has a number of endemic species, and as with many other island endemics extinction in the modern age is a bit of a problem.

The Woodhen population on LHI fell to about 30 birds at one stage, but has now recovered to over 200.  In recent years many of the birds were removed from the island as a huge rat baiting program took place.  The rat eradication seems to have been (more or less) successful and the birds have been returned.

Although it is isolated (and expensive) if you ever get the chance to go to LHI, take it: its a wonderful place.

It's remarkable to think that about 1% of the worlds population of these birds are in these pictures!

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  1. Yes, our islands too have problems with feral animals that were introduced with good intentions or by accident who now must be controlled or eradicated. Lanai is becoming overwhelmed with axis deer! Others, like the mongoose on Oahu and other islands are unobtrusive and even loved. That is the nature of islands. Things and people wash up here. Best wishes, Stewart thank you for hosting

  2. Lovely to see more of this bird Stewart. Thanks for hosting and sharing. I hope your week ahead goes well

  3. Hari OM
    Oh yes, LHI is one of the jewels of the Pacific, I agree - and these wee birds always brought a squeal of delight when encountered; which, thankfully, was every day at some point! Thanks for these shots to trigger fond memory. YAM xx

  4. Thank you for sharing such a rare one!

  5. Remarkable actions to preserve this species. Looks like a cross between a chicken and a heron with rail-like habits.

  6. Hello Stewart :=)

    I'm pleased you shared this rarity again. It is good to know steps were taken for the preservation of these birds.
    All the best.

  7. I’m glad the bird population is recovering.