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Reoccurrence of 'Öma'o in leeward woodland habitat and their distribution in alpine habitat on Hawai'i Island

Wilson Journal of Ornithology

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Abstract

The endemic solitaire, 'Ōma'o (Myadestes obscurus), is common in windward forests of Hawai'i Island, but has been historically extirpated from leeward forests. The last detections of Ōma'o on the leeward side of the island were in woodland habitat on the western flank of Mauna Loa in 1978. 'Ōma'o were detected in woodland habitat in relatively low densities during a 2010 forest bird survey of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The source of the population is unknown. It is probable they originated from a documented but unsurveyed population of Ōma'o in scrub alpine lava. Alternatively, the birds may have persisted undetected for nearly 35 years, or expanded from windward mesic forests on southeast Mauna Loa. There is no evidence 'Ōma'o recolonized the wet mesic forests of leeward Mauna Loa. The 'Ōma'o can occupy diverse native habitats compared to other species in the Hawai'i Myadestes genus, of which most species are now extinct. The connectivity of each population is not understood but we assume there are significant geographic, physiological, and behavioral barriers for scrub alpine and wet mesic forest populations. The expansion of 'Ōma'o to leeward woodlands is encouraging as the species is Hawai'i Island's last native frugivore capable of dispersing small and medium sized seeds of rare angiosperms, and could have an important role in re-establishing ecosystem function.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Reoccurrence of 'Öma'o in leeward woodland habitat and their distribution in alpine habitat on Hawai'i Island
Series title:
Wilson Journal of Ornithology
Volume:
124
Issue:
4
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
Wilson Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s):
Pacific Islands Ecosys Research Center
Description:
7 p.
First page:
675
Last page:
681
Country:
United States
State:
Hawai'i
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N