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Hawaiian Honeycreepers

Protected Habitat and Feral Mammal Control

Endangered Hawaiian Honeycreepers


In 1950, surveys of the misty mountains of eastern Maui, in the Hawaiian Islands, resulted in rediscovery of two bird species previously thought to be extinct.

The Maui Parrotbill is an olive-green bird with a large parrot-like bill used to dig into branches and stems, to lift bark or lichens in search of hidden invertebrates, and to bite open fruit.

The Akohekohe is a colorful, nectar-eating bird whose prominent, white bushy crest, curved forward over the bill, provided its English name of Crested Honeycreeper.
 
After these birds were rediscovered, the Hawaii chapter of The Nature Conservancy successfully coordinated an effort to protect their isolated forest refuge, which also is home to many endangered plants. As part of the Hawaiian Forest Bird Recovery Project, captive propagation and release programs are under way for both species.

Conservation in Action in Hawaii

Nature Conservancy staff erect a fence at Kamakou Preserve on the island of Molokai, Hawaii, to keep feral pigs out of the upper-elevation forest. In addition, snaring, although controversial, is used to remove feral pigs, which severely damage native vegetation.

Despite the difficulty and high cost of these efforts, similar projects have been carried out successfully at The Nature Conservancy's Waikoloa Preserve on Maui, whose mountain rain forests are the last stronghold of the Maui Parrotbill, the Akohekohe, and other declining Hawaiian birds.