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Evidence of change in a low-elevation forest bird community of Hawai'i since 1979

September 29, 2003

We evaluated the abundance and distribution of low-elevation forest birds on windward Hawai'i Island during August 1993-February 1994, and present evidence of changes in the species composition of the forest bird community since 1979. Endemic Hawaiian birds occurred in native-dominated forests as low as 120 m elevation. Non-native species were detected at all survey locations. We observed non-native Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola, previously unrecorded in Puna. Variable circular plot surveys of Kahauale'a Natural Area Reserve indicated the disappearance of two native species ('I'iwi Vestiaria coccinea and 'O'u Psittitostra psittacea), and two non-native additions (Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea and Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelana) to the study area since the Hawai'i Forest Bird Survey conducted in 1979. We present evidence that native 'Elepaio Chasiempsis sandwichensis has experienced a decrease in population density and an elevational range contraction since 1979. Surveys indicate Puna's forest bird community has had increasing aliens and declining native species since 1979. The persistence of some native bird species within the range of avian disease vectors such as Culex quinquefasciatus in forests below 1,000 m elevation presents an important enigma that requires additional study.

Publication Year 2003
Title Evidence of change in a low-elevation forest bird community of Hawai'i since 1979
DOI 10.1017/S0959270903003149
Authors Michelle H. Reynolds, Richard J. Camp, Bonnie M. B. Nielson, James D. Jacobi
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bird Conservation International
Index ID 70178303
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center