Hawaii’s Forest Birds
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Hawaii’s Forest Birds Sing the Blues. Kaua’i. Ki’ihau. Moloka’i. O’ahu. Laha’i. Maui. Kaho’olawe. Hawai’i. the 8 Hawaiian islands are very remote - over 2,500 miles from the nearest mainland. because of its isolation, Hawaii has some of the

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Hawaii’s Forest Birds

Sing the Blues









the 8 Hawaiian islands are very remote - over

2,500 miles from the nearest mainland

because of its isolation, Hawaii has some of the

world’s most amazing examples of adaptive radiation (you may want to look up this term)

and some of the


most devastating




Megalagrion spp.

Bishop’s O’o

Lobelia spp.

over 75% of the documented floral and faunal

extinctions in the U.S. occurred in Hawaii

1/3 of the species on the US endangered species list

are endemic to Hawaii

brought with them pigs, dogs,

rats, non-native plants

ecosystem destruction began with the arrival of the

Polynesians around 400 A.D.

slashed and burned lowland

forest to plant sweet potato and taro

European settlers arrived around 1778, with more of

the same, goats, pigs, cats, etc.

many more non-native species introduced as time progressed

Feral Pigs

one of the biggest problems facing the

Hawaiian ecosystem

no natural predators to

control the population - the pigs are overabundant

pigs consume large quantities of understory vegetation

- has to led to extinction of many native plant species - many of which Hawaiian birds needed for nectar, nesting cover, and for finding native insects

pigs “rooting” also exposes large areas of bare soil,

which favor non-native plant species and cause

soil erosion


non-native mosquitoes brought in 1880’s from

Mexico - in water barrels on whaling ships

carry avian malaria and pox which have been

devastating to native birds, who have no natural

resistance to these diseases

muddy wallows created by feral pig rooting creates

excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes which carry


the introduced

Japanese White-eye

is now one of the most

common birds on the

Hawaiian islands

Competition from


non-native species

compete with natives

for resources such as

food and nesting space

Other Introduced


Hawaii has only 1 native

terrestrial mammal - the

Hawaiian bat

rat populations grew without any native predators

mongooses imported to prey on rats - but rats are

nocturnal and mongoose diurnal - so mongooses had

to find other sources of food

both rats and mongoose prey upon bird eggs and


From a painting by Douglas Pratt


aside from bringing all the

non-native species to


many of the large flightless

birds were over-hunted

for food, before regulations governing the use of animals were made

80,000 individual birds contributed 800,000 feathers of the now extinct species, the Hawaii Mamo, to make just one ceremonial headdress for King Kamehameha in the late 1700’s



the sum of all these

factors working

together has proved

devastating for Hawaii’s native birds

over half of Hawaii’s 140 historically described bird

species are now extinct, and 40% of those that remain are threatened/endangered

a similar fate has befallen many of Hawaii’s native

plants, herpetofauna, and invertebrate species

currently, management

is under way to contol

feral animal populations,

using exclosure, hunting, and other techniques

captive breeding programs are helpful in returning

more native species to the wild


There is still


invasive plant control is also taking place

Ivy gourd or “scarlet fruited” gourd