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Title: History of endemic Hawaiian birds: Part I: population histories, species accounts: forest birds: Maui Parrotbill, ´O´u, Palila, Greater Koa Finch, Lesser Koa Finch and Grosbeak Finch 
Author: Banko, Winston E
Date: 1986-12
Publisher: Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa Department of Botany
Citation: Banko WE. 1986. History of endemic Hawaiian birds: part I: population histories, species accounts: forest birds: Maui Parrotbill, ´O´u, Palila, Greater Koa Finch, Lesser Koa Finch and Grosbeak Finch. Honolulu (HI): Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Botany. CPSU/UH Avian History Report, 10.
Abstract: Psittirostra psittacea is a small, olive-green, yellow headed (adult males only) forest bird having a parrot-like bill. It was originally found on the islands of Kaua´i, O´ahu, Moloka´i, Lāna´i, Maui, and Hawai´i. Exhaustive search of literature and field journals uncovered some 300 observational notes, collection records, reports, and related statements on relative abundance and geographical distribution from 1779 to 1977. All information is serially numbered, arranged in geographical and chronological order, referenced, and systematically analyzed. In the 1890’s ´O´u were observed to be common to abundant over broad areas on Kaua´i, Moloka´i, Lāna´i, Maui, and Hawai´i, extremely rare on O´ahu. This species was last reported on O´ahu in 1899, on Moloka´i in 1907, on Lāna´i in 1931, and on Maui in 1901. Today, ´O´u on Kaua´i are known only from a 5 square mile area where they are regarded as very rare. On Hawai´i, in the Kohala, Kona, and leeward Ka´u districts, ´O´u have been reported on O´ahu only once (in 1933) since 1896. Surveys in these areas in recent years detected none. In windward forests, ´O´u have declined significantly in and near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the past 20 to 30 years, apparently reflecting continued widespread depopulation in windward Ka´u, Kilauea, and Mauna Kea districts. After expending 1,300 man-days of census effort in 221,669 acres of windward habitats in 1977, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service surveys detected ´O´u only 61 times (preliminary account). It is concluded that long-term decline of remnant populations Kaua´i and Hawai´i is continuing.

Psittirostra bailleui [Loxioides bailleui] is a small, yellow and gray forest bird with a short, thick, brown bill. It is endemic to the island of Hawai´i. Exhaustive search of literature and field journals
uncovered some 100 observational notes, collection records, reports, and related statements on relative abundance and geographical distribution from 1876 to 1978. All records are serially numbered, arranged in geographical and chronological order, referenced, and systematically analyzed. In the 1890's Palila were observed to be common to abundant in upper elevation forests along the western flank of Mauna Loa, and on the north, northeast, and southeast slopes of Mauna Kea. One 1950 record indicates that they also ranged the western slopes of the saddle connecting these two volcanoes. This species was last recorded on the western flank of Mauna Loa in 1896 when they were noted to be fewer than in 1892. On Mauna Kea, Palila were last observed on the north slope in 1903, and after an observational gap of about 40 years, were rediscovered on the southeastern slope in 1937, and on the northeast slope in 1950. They were reported for the first time on the southwestern flank of Mauna Kea in 1943. Intensive surveys on Mauna Kea by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and cooperating agencies in 1975 resulted in finding a population of about 1,600 individuals on all except the northwest and north slopes at which time they were estimated to occupy only about (9%) of their former historic range. A few observational clues since 1950 suggest that Palila population and range continue to decline long-term.

Psittirostra palmeri [Chloridops kona] is a small, short-tailed, thick-billed, olive-green forest bird, the male having reddish orange about the head and neck. It is endemic to the island of Hawai'i. Exhaustive search of literature and field journals uncovered only 55 records (including doubtful and negative reports) of its occurrence. Ornithologists from 1892 to 1896 observed scores of this species in Kona, collecting 48 of the 59 known specimens at elevations ranging from 3000 to 5000 feet from the Hualdlai area south to H6naunau. Psittirostra palmeri was also seen and/or collected at comparably high elevations in the Kilauea area of Mauna Loa and on the southeastern slope of Mauna Kea during the early period. Positive and negative reports of this species since 1896 are reviewed. Intensive islandwide surveys conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1976 to 1979 yielded no sightings. The species is presumed extinct.

Psittirostra flaviceps [Psittirostra flaviceps] is a small, short-tailed, thick-billed, olive-green forest bird having yellow about the head and neck. It is endemic to the island of Hawai'i. Exhaustive search of literature and field journals uncovered only eight specimens and related collection records on or near the Pulehua Ranch in October 1891. Searches of the type locality by successive ornithologists in 1892, 1894, 1896, 1901, 1942, 1950, 1966 and the late 1907's failed to reveal this species. Psittirostra flaviceps is presumed extinct.

Psittirostra kona is a small, short-tailed, olive-green forest bird with an extremely thick, short bill. It is endemic to the island of Hawai´i. Exhaustive search of literature and field journals uncovered comparatively few records of its existence in 1891 and 1892, the last years a living population was noted. Psittirostra kona is presumed extinct.
Series/Report No.: Avian History Report
10
Description: Reports were scanned in black and white at a resolution of 600 dots per inch and were converted to text using Adobe Paper Capture Plug-in.
Sponsorship: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; National Park Service Contract No. CX 8000 8 0012
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/361
Keywords: Maui parrotbill, Pseudonestor xanthophrys, Psittirostra psittacea, Ou, Psittirostra bailleui, Loxioides bailleui, Palila, Psittirostra palmeri, Greater koa finch, Chloridops kona, Psittirostra flaviceps, Lesser koa finch, Psittirostra kona, Grosbeak finch
LC Subject Headings: Bird populations -- Hawaii.
Endemic birds -- Hawaii -- History.
Forest birds -- Hawaii.
Endangered species -- Hawaii.
Rare birds -- Hawaii.
Extinct birds -- Hawaii.

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This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • The Avian History Reports [20]
    This collection presents the Avian History Reports (AHR), A Historical Synthesis of Recent Endemic Hawaiian Birds (1979-1990).

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