The 'A??kohekohe (Palmeria dolei) is an endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper endemic to the montane rain forests of east Maul in the Hawaiian Islands. We investigated 'A??kohekohe nesting ecology using color-banded birds for the first time as a background to understanding the species' conservation. From 1994-1997, we color-banded 78 individuals, located and monitored 46 active nests, and took behavioral data during 534 hr of nest observation at Hanawi?? Natural Area Reserve, near the center of the species' range. 'A??kohekohe nesting behavior and life history closely resembled that of 'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea) and related honeycreepers. The birds were monogamous within and among years, and we found no evidence of polyandry, polygyny, or helpers at the nest. The nesting season extended from November to early June. Females performed all incubation and brooding. Males provisioned females and nestlings, and they were more active than females in feeding fledglings during the two-week period of parental dependency. Modal clutch size, as determined from egg counts at three nests and by counting begging chicks at other nests, was two eggs, and parents frequently fledged two chicks. We found an overall nest success rate of 68% by the Mayfield method, a high rate compared with other Hawaiian honeycreepers and continental passerines. An average of 1.1 chicks fledged per active nest, and at least 42% of nesting pairs made two or more nesting attempts per season. Rats (Rattus spp.) were abundant at the study site, and we confirmed their depredating some 'A??kohekohe nests, so we did not expect to find such a high rate of nest success. The estimated annual probability of adult survival was also high, at 0.95 ?? 0.10 (SE).
Additional Publication Details
Reproductive ecology and demography of the 'A??kohekohe