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Remains of Land Birds from Lisianski Island, with Observations on the Terrestrial Avifauna of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

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Title: Remains of Land Birds from Lisianski Island, with Observations on the Terrestrial Avifauna of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Authors: Olson, Storrs L.
Ziegler, Alan C.
Issue Date: Apr 1995
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Citation: Olson SL, Ziegler AC. 1995. Remains of land birds from Lisianski Island, with observations on the terrestrial avifauna of the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Pac Sci 49(2): 111-125.
Abstract: Early nineteenth-century accounts suggest that there were ducks
and rails on Lisianski Island, although neither were present in 1891 when the
first ornithological collector visited the island. Excavations and surface searches
on the island in 1990 uncovered numerous bones of the Laysan Duck (Anas
laysanensis Rothschild), indicating that there once was a resident population.
A single coracoid of a small rail (Porzana) probably came from one of the 45
individuals of Laysan Rail (P. palmeri Frohawk) that were introduced in 1913
and quickly died out, because no further evidence of rails or other land birds
was found. Extinction of the duck may have been due to predation by survivors
of mid-nineteenth-century shipwrecks and possibly to competition for food
from introduced House Mice (Mus musculus Linnaeus). The land birds of the
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands were derived partly from Asia and partly from
species that were formerly widespread in the lowlands of the main Hawaiian
Islands. They are not, therefore, a collection of ancient relicts of a montane
biota as has been hypothesized. The terrestrial avifauna of Nihoa is
depauperate even for an island of its size and may have suffered prehistoric
human-caused extinctions.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/2279
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 49, Number 2, 1995



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