Forest Birds of Kaua´i

Young Pu-Lucas BehnkePhoto courtesy of Lucas BehnkeSirtrack Helps to Study the Critically Endangered Forest Birds of Kaua‘i Sirtack recently teamed up with KFBRP (Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project)  to help study one of the rarest birds in Hawai‘i by providing radio transmitters.

The Puaiohi, Myadestes palmeri, is one of only two extant native solitaires in Hawai‘i. It was the last native forest passerine to be discovered on Kaua‘i, probably due to its cryptic nature and their numbers have apparently been low since its discovery. Habitat destruction due to anthropogenic factors (i.e. lowland forest clearing and alien species introduction) and natural events (i.e. hurricanes) has caused the population’s distribution and density to decrease further during the last few decades.

In the late 1990’s, a state and federally funded research project (now known as KFBRP) was initiated to investigate the factors hindering the Puaiohi population. A captive propagation program also was initiated and the first captive-reared Puaiohi were released into the wild in 1999. Despite these efforts, Puaiohi numbers are still low. Our most recent estimates suggest that there are only 200-1000 individuals remaining. KFBRP’s latest project, which began in the spring of 2011, focuses on hatch-year birds. With the help of Sirtrack, KFBRP is applying transmitters to hatch-year Puaiohi to learn more about the dispersal and distribution of young birds, which may be limiting population growth.

By tracking young Puaiohi post-fledge, KFBRP hopes to reveal patterns of the bird’s natural distribution that will enable us to better manage wild populations and the releases of young, captive-reared Puaiohi in the future.

Read more: KFBRP website http://kauaiforestbirds.org