The Palila Loxioides bailleui is an endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper that is restricted to high-elevation dry woodlands on Mauna Kea volcano, Hawaii. Palila are absent or occur in small numbers throughout most of their historic range because of habitat loss, predation and avian disease. The Paula's habitat is regenerating as a result of feral ungulate control, but the species is likely to be slow in recolonizing former ranges because of strong site tenacity. In March 1993, we translocated 35 Palila to Kanakaleonui on the eastern slope of Mauna Kea to determine whether we could speed recovery by releasing adult birds in new areas where predators were controlled. At least two pairs of translocated Palila successfully nested at the release site during their first breeding season, and two other pairs constructed nests. The density of Palila at Kanakaleonui in the three years following the translocation was higher than that before translocation. Approximately half of the translocated birds remained at the release site for 2-6 weeks and then homed back to their capture site, >20 km away. Translocations of adult birds and release of captive-reared juvenile Palila, in combination with additional habitat restoration, may be an effective management tool for speeding the recovery of this species.
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Translocation of the Palila, an endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper