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Extinction risk and conservation options for Maui Parrotbill, an endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper

August 2, 2018

Extinction rates for island birds around the world have been historically high. For forest passerines, the Hawaiian archipelago has suffered some of the highest extinction rates and reintroduction is a conservation tool that can be used to prevent the extinction of some of the remaining endangered species. Population viability analyses can be used to assess risks to vulnerable populations and evaluate the relative benefits of conservation strategies. Here we present a population viability analysis to assess the long-term viability for Maui parrotbill(s) (Kiwikiu) Pseudonestor xanthophrys, a federally endangered passerine on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Contrary to indications from population monitoring, our results indicate Maui parrotbills may be unlikely to persist beyond 25 years. Our modeling suggests female mortality as a primary factor driving this decline. To evaluate and compare management options involving captive rearing and translocation strategies we made a female-only stage-structured, meta-population simulation model. Due to the low reproductive potential of Maui parrotbills in captivity, the number of individuals (~ 20% of the global population) needed to source a reintroduction solely from captive reared birds is unrealistic. A reintroduction strategy that incorporates a minimal contribution from captivity and instead translocates mostly wild individuals was found to be the most feasible management option. Habitat is being restored on leeward east Maui, which may provide more favorable climate and habitat conditions and promote increased reproductive output. Our model provides managers with benchmarks for fecundity and survival needed to ensure reintroduction success, and highlights the importance of establishing a new population in potentially favorable habitat to ensure long-term persistence.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Extinction risk and conservation options for Maui Parrotbill, an endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper
DOI 10.3996/072017-JFWM-059
Authors Hanna L. Mounce, Christopher C. Warren, Conor P. McGowan, Eben H. Paxton, J.J. Groombridge
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
Series Number
Index ID 70198368
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta