Forest Bird Distribution, Density and Trends in the Ka'u Region of Hawai'i Island

Open-File Report 2007-1076

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An accurate and current measure of population status and trend is necessary for conservation and management efforts. Scott and Kepler (1985) provided a comprehensive review of the status of native Hawaiian birds based on the extensive Hawaii Forest Bird Survey (HFBS) of the main islands (Scott et al. 1986). At that time, they documented declining populations and decreasing ranges for most species, and the extinction of several species over the previous 50 years. Many native bird species continue to decline throughout Hawai`i (Camp et al. In review, Gorresen et al. In prep.). The focus of this study is the mid-to-high elevation rainforest on the southeast windward slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano (Figure 1). Known as Ka`u, the region encompasses forest lands protected by Kamehameha Schools, The Nature Conservancy, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP), and the State of Hawai'i's Ka`u Forest Reserve, Kapapala Forest Reserve and Kapapala Cooperative Game Management Area,. Together these lands support one of three main concentrations of native forest birds on the Hawai`i Island (the other two being centered on the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge and Kulani-Keauhou area in the north and central windward part of the island, respectively.) Because this region harbors important populations of native and endangered forest birds in some of the best remaining forest habitat on the island, it has been a focus of forest bird surveys since the 1970s. The Ka`u region was first quantitatively surveyed in 1976 by the Hawaii Forest Bird Survey (Scott et al. 1986). Surveys were conducted by State of Hawai`i Division of Forestry and Wildlife in 1993 and 2002 and by the U.S. National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey in 2004 and 2005. In this report, we present analyses of the density, distribution and trends of native and introduced forest bird within the Ka`u region of Hawai`i Island. The analyses cover only those species with sufficient detections to model detection probability and calculate density. These include three endangered native passerines: `Akiapola`au (Hemignathus munroi), Hawai`i Creeper (Oreomystis mana), and Hawai`i `Akepa (Loxops coccineus); five more common native passerines: the Hawai`i `Elepaio (Chasiempis sandwichensis), `Oma`o (Myadestes obscurus), Hawai`i `Amakihi (Hemignathus virens), `I`iwi (Vestiaria coccinea) and `Apapane (Himatione sanguinea); and three non-native species: Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea), Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus), and Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis).

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USGS Numbered Series
Forest Bird Distribution, Density and Trends in the Ka'u Region of Hawai'i Island
Series title:
Open-File Report
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Geological Survey (U. S.)
Contributing office(s):
Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
v, 101 p.