Breeding status of cuckoos on offshore islands of New Zealand: some corrections
- Department of Zoology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 1, New Zealand
Determining the breeding status of small, inconspicuous forest bird species is often difficult. However, in New Zealand, few native forest birds are migratory and breeding can often be inferred from the presence of a reasonable number of individuals throughout the year (Williams, 1981). In compiling his lists of species as present or absent on offshore islands, Williams (1981) appears to have been cautious when determining breeding status for the two species of cuckoo (shining cuckoo, Chrysococcyx lucidus; long-tailed cuckoo, Eudynamis taitensis), perhaps because both are migratory. He listed shining cuckoo as present (and presumably breeding), and long-tailed cuckoo as absent from Little Barrier Island. He also listed long— tailed cuckoo as present on Great Barrier Island and both cuckoos as absent from Cuvier Island.
In recent analyses of aspects of the biogeography of New Zealand birds, East and Williams (1984) and Diamond (1984) used Williams' (1981) data on the breeding status of cuckoos on offshore islands. Williams was aware of errors in the 1981 paper at the time that East and Williams (1984) was being prepared, but the 1981 tabulation was accepted as sufficiently accurate for a broad overview (R. East, pers. comm.). I offer the following corrections in the interests of updating available information.