|Male Gough bunting on Gough Island|
Taxonomy and systematics
Traditionally considered a bunting and placed in the family Emberizidae, it is actually neither a bunting nor a true finch, but belongs to a group of finch-like birds or tanager-finches in the family Thraupidae. In particular it shares some plumage characteristics with the South American genus Melanodera which may be its nearest mainland relative.
Another species of finch was described from Gough Island, Nesospiza jessiae, in 1904. This species was later identified as juveniles of the Gough finch.
The Gough finch is 22 to 26 cm (8.7–10.2 in) in length and weighs 50–56 g (1.8–2.0 oz).
Distribution and habitat
It is endemic to the remote Gough Island, part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, and nearby stacks, in the South Atlantic. Its natural habitats are temperate shrubland and subantarctic grassland.
Status and conservation
It was formerly classified as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN. But new research has shown that its population has collapsed and it is on the verge of extinction due to the introduced population of house mice (Mus musculus), noted for its unusual aggressiveness, competing with the birds for food and eating their eggs and nestlings. Consequently, it was uplisted to Critically Endangered in 2008.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Rowettia goughensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- See Ridgely, R. S., & G. Tudor. 1989. The Birds of South America, vol. 1. P.448
- Rand (1955) & Vuilleumier (1991)
- Lowe, P. R. (28 June 2008). "XXXI.-Notes on some Land Birds of the Tristan da Cunha Group collected by the 'Quest' Expedition". Ibis. 65 (3): 511–528. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1923.tb08110.x.
- Ryan, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2017). Gough Finch (Rowettia goughensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/62039 on 28 March 2017).
- BLI (2004)
- Wanless et al. (2007)
- BLI (2008)
- BirdLife International (BLI) (2008): [2008 IUCN Redlist status changes]. Retrieved 2008-MAY-23.
- Rand, A. L. 1955. The origin of the land birds of Tristan da Cunha. Fieldiana (Zoology), 37, pp. 139–166.PDF fulltext
- Ridgely, R. S., & G. Tudor. 1989. The Birds of South America, vol. 1. Univ. Texas Press, Austin.
- Wanless, R.M.; Angel, A.; Cuthbert, R.J.; Hilton, G.M. & Ryan, P.G. (2007): Can predation by invasive mice drive seabird extinctions? Biol. Lett. 3(3): 241-244. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2007.0120 PMID 17412667 PDF fulltext Supplementary video Supplementary image
- Vuilleumier, F. 1991. A Quantitative Survey of Speciation Phenomena in Patagonian Birds. Ornitologia Neotropical 2: pp. 20–21. PDF fulltext
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