Two Birds Removed From Endangered Species List

Federal officials removed two Guam species from the endangered species list this week. The Guam Mallard (or Nganga) and the Guam Broadbill (or chiguanguan) are now deemed extinct.

The nganga, a duck that lived in wetlands in both Guam and the CNMI was never very numerous. Added to the endangered species list in 1977, the last mallard seen on Guam was in 1967, and the last confirmed sighting in Saipan occurred in 1979. Scientists suspect the loss of the mallard’s habitat caused the nganga’s extinction.

The Guam broadbill was a small flycatcher endemic to Guam. It was last seen in the wild in 1984, the same year it was listed as an endangered species. The likely cause of extinction is the brown tree snake.

When it became apparent both species were threatened in the wild, scientists unsuccessfully attempted captive breeding programs. The only nganga’s captured were three old birds that never mated, and the brown tree snake ate all the female chiguanguan by the time scientists began capturing the birds. They only caught males, which makes sense since the females sat on the nest and fell victim to predation.

A third species, the bridled white-eye is expected to join the mallard and the broadbill on the rolls of extinct species soon. It was last seen over 20 years ago.