No definitive solution to this problem is possible. Although there were once several specimens in existence, only one (an example now in Leiden) survives today. This is one of the more sandy-coloured individuals. The species was only ever seen by naturalists who sailed with Cook and one of them, Georg Forster, painted a picture of a Moorea bird showing the more reddish breast. It is on the basis of this painting that the form ellisi is named. Clearly the birds – whether there was once species or two – became extinct at an early date. Other than the fact that Forster found it close to small brooks, nothing is known of it in life.