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A detailed presentation of all bird species known from isolated Pitcairn Islands in the South-easternmost part of central Polynesia. Migratory shorebirds and rare observations are included and a detailed desciption of each species is provided.
Consisting of four widely separated islands of various geological ages and characters, the Pitcairn Group is located in the south-easternmost part of Polynesia. These isolated islands are separated from the nearest continental landmasses of New Zealand and South America by a distance of 4 800 kilometres. Famous for being inhabited by the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Polynesian companions, the main island of Pitcairn is of volcanic origin and has been populated for 223 years. The other three islands – Henderson, Ducie and Oeno – are uninhabited and mainly unaffected by human influences.
With their remote location in the south-easternmost part of Central Polynesia, the islands of the Pitcairn Group offer an interesting bird fauna dominated by ocean-living seabirds and a small number of endemic land birds. The islands offer a natural laboratory for studying the evolution of birds and their behaviour in as near a natural state as perhaps is possible. The uninhabited islands of Henderson, Ducie and Oeno give undisturbed sanctuaries for birds living in isolation from people and their impact. Five of the seven terrestrial birds represented in the islands are endemic with four species living on Henderson Island and one on Pitcairn Island.
A significant number of migratory shorebirds from North Eurasia and North America regularly spend the northern winter at the uninhabited islands in the Pitcairn Group. According to archaeological studies at least 15 additional bird species once lived on Henderson Island but are now extinct due to human impact.