Population estimates of the Endangered Hawaiʻi ʻĀkepa (Loxops coccineus) in different habitats on windward Mauna Loa

Journal of Field Ornithology
By: , and 



Endangered Hawai‘i ʻĀkepas (Loxops coccineus) are endemic to Hawai‘i island, where they occur in five spatially distinct populations. Data concerning the status and population trends of these unique Hawaiian honeycreepers are crucial for assessing the effectiveness of recovery and management actions. In 2016, we used point‐transect distance sampling to estimate the abundance of Hawai‘i ʻĀkepas in portions of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) and the Kaʻū Forest Reserve (KFR) on Mauna Loa volcano. We then compiled the survey data from four other populations to provide a global population estimate. In our HAVO and KFR study area, we mapped habitat classes to determine the population densities in each habitat. Densities were highest (1.03 birds/ha) in open‐canopy montane ʻōhiʻa (Metrosideros polymorpha) woodland. In contrast, densities of the largest ʻĀkepa population on Mauna Kea volcano were highest in closed‐canopy ʻōhiʻa and koa (Acacia koa) forest where the species is dependent on nest cavities in tall (> 15 m), large (> 50‐cm diameter at breast height) trees. We surveyed potential nesting habitat in HAVO and KFR and found only one cavity in the short‐stature montane ʻōhiʻa woodland and five cavities in the tall‐stature forest. Differences in densities between the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa populations suggest that Hawai‘i ʻĀkepas may exhibit different foraging and nesting behaviors in the two habitats. The estimated overall population density in the HAVO and KFR study area was 0.52 birds/ha, which equates to 3663 (95% CI 1725–6961) birds in their 11,377‐ha population range. We calculated a global population of 16,428 (95% CI 10,065–25,198) birds, which is similar to an estimate of 13,892 (95% CI 10,315–17,469) birds made in 1986. Our results suggest that populations are stable to increasing in the two largest populations, but the three other populations are smaller (range = 77–1443 birds) and trends for those populations are unknown.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Population estimates of the Endangered Hawaiʻi ʻĀkepa (Loxops coccineus) in different habitats on windward Mauna Loa
Series title Journal of Field Ornithology
DOI 10.1111/jofo.12243
Volume 89
Issue 1
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
Description 11 p.
First page 11
Last page 21
Country United States
State Hawai'i
Other Geospatial Mauna Loa
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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