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Distribution and abundance patterns of the palila on Mauna Kea, Hawaii

January 1, 1978

Censuses of the known geographical range of the rare and endangered Palila were conducted in January (nonbreeding season) and September (breeding season) 1975. The habitat (mamane and naio forest of Mauna Kea, Hawaii) was divided into five major areas, with each analyzed for vegetational composition, phenology of the predominant tree species, and Palila density. Using a line transect census technique, we determined that: 1) the Palila occupied 5,560 ha, approximately 10% of its former range; 2) Palila populations were more restricted in the nonbreeding season, possibly reflecting their flocking tendency; 3) Palila densities were 38 birds per km2 in the breeding season and 36 birds per km2 in the nonbreeding season; 4) Palila population movements were small, and apparently were correlated with patterns of food availability; and 5) all methods of analysis yielded a projected population of approximately 1,600 birds. These low numbers, coupled with its restricted range, make the Palila one of the most vulnerable endangered species.

Publication Year 1978
Title Distribution and abundance patterns of the palila on Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Authors Charles van Riper, J. Michael Scott, D.M. Woodside
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title The Auk
Index ID 5221037
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center