Endemic Animals of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha








Inaccessible Island rail
Inaccessible Island rail
The Inaccessible Island rail is a small bird of the rail family, Rallidae. Endemic to Inaccessible Island in the Tristan Archipelago in the isolated south Atlantic, it is the smallest extant flightless bird in the world. The species was described by physician Percy Lowe in 1923 but had first come to the attention of scientists 50 years earlier. The Inaccessible Island rail's affinities and origin were a long-standing mystery; in 2018 its closest ...
relative was identified as the South American dot-winged crake, and it was proposed that both species should be nested within the genus Laterallus. A small species, the Inaccessible Island rail has brown plumage, black bill and feet, and adults have a red eye. It occupies most habitats on Inaccessible Island, from the beaches to the central plateau, feeding on a variety of small invertebrates and also some plant matter. Pairs are territorial and monogamous, with both parents being responsible for incubating the eggs and raising the chicks. Its adaptations to living on a tiny island at high densities include low base metabolic rates, small clutch sizes, and flightlessness. Unlike many other oceanic islands, Inaccessible Island has remained free from introduced predators, allowing this species to flourish while many other flightless birds, particularly flightless rails, have gone extinct. The species is nevertheless considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, due to its single small population, which would be threatened by the accidental introduction of mammalian predators such as rats or cats.
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Inaccessible Island rail
Tristan thrush
Tristan thrush
The Tristan thrush, also known as the starchy, is a species of bird in the thrush family that is endemic to the British overseas territories of the isolated Tristan da Cunha archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean.
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Tristan thrush
Ascension frigatebird
Ascension frigatebird
The Ascension frigatebird is a seabird of the frigatebird family Fregatidae which breeds on Boatswain Bird Island and Ascension Island in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. The Ascension frigatebird is a large lightly built seabird with brownish-black plumage and a deeply forked tail. It has a wingspan of around 2 m . The male has a striking red gular sac which he inflates to attract a mate. The female is slightly larger than the male and has a brown ...
breast-band and sometimes a white belly. They feed on fish taken in flight from the ocean's surface, and sometimes indulge in kleptoparasitism, harassing other birds to force them to regurgitate their food.
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Ascension frigatebird
Saint Helena plover
Saint Helena plover
The Saint Helena plover, locally known as the wirebird due to its thin legs, is a small wader endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the mid-Atlantic. The bird is similar in appearance to the Kittlitz's plover of sub-Saharan Africa, but is rather larger. It is the national bird of St Helena and has been depicted on the country's coins. Populations in general have been declining. Threats include predation by cats, the introduction of the common ...
myna, deforestation, off-road vehicle use, the Saint Helena Airport and a projected windfarm. In 2016, the population had recovered to about 560 mature individuals, from a previous minimum of less than 200 in 2006; consequently, the species was downlisted to Vulnerable from its previous assessment of Critically Endangered.
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Saint Helena plover
Gough moorhen
Gough moorhen
The Gough moorhen is a medium-sized, almost flightless bird that is similar to the common moorhen, but is smaller, stockier, and has shorter wings. The bird has a distinctive yellow-tipped red bill and red frontal shield. Its first account was written in 1888 by the polar explorer George Comer, whom the specific name comeri commemorates. This bird is found only on two remote islands in the South Atlantic.
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Gough moorhen
Wilkins's finch
Wilkins's finch
Wilkins's finch, also known as Wilkins's bunting or the grosbeak bunting, is a species of bird in the family Thraupidae. It is restricted to Inaccessible Island and Nightingale Island of the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. Its natural habitats are temperate shrubland and subantarctic grassland.
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Wilkins's finch
Gough finch
Gough finch
The Gough finch or Gough bunting, is a critically endangered species of songbird.
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Gough finch
Promachoteuthis sulcus
Promachoteuthis sulcus
Promachoteuthis sulcus is a species of promachoteuthid squid. It is distinguished from related taxa on the basis of several morphological features: nuchal fusion between the head and mantle, much larger size of arm suckers compared to club suckers, greater width of tentacle base than arm base, a recessed club base, and the presence of an aboral tentacle groove.
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Promachoteuthis sulcus
Conus jourdani
Conus jourdani
Conus jourdani is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Conidae, the cone snails and their allies. Like all species within the genus Conus, these snails are predatory and venomous. They are capable of "stinging" humans, therefore live ones should be handled carefully or not at all.
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Conus jourdani