WatchList Species Account for Kama’o (Myadestes myadestinus)

Qualifies for the list as a Red List Species

 

Akepa
© H. Douglas Pratt, Birds of Hawaii. Reprinted by permission of Princeton University Press.

Endemic to Kauai, the Kama’o was once the most common of the forest birds on that island, but by the 1920s had become restricted to dense montane swamp above 3,280 feet in the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve. It favored forested stream valleys and associated ridges. The mesic forest there is now largely dominated by introduced species.

 

The largest of the Hawaiian thrushes, the Kama’o was primarily frugivorous, but took some insects and other invertebrates.

 

Threats to the bird included mosquito-borne diseases, predation by feral cats and rates, and possibly competition from introduced birds. Degradation of the forest and introduction of alien plants was brought about by the spread of feral pigs into the Alaka’i Swamp. Upland forest on the island was severely impacted by two hurricanes in the last few years, which may have further depressed its numbers.

 

By 1973 its population was estimated at 337 individuals, but by 1981 that total had dropped to only 24 birds. The last probable sighting was in 1989, with other reports in the early 1990s, but in 1995 an extensive effort by the Rare Bird Search Team failed to locate the species. It seems probable that the Kama'o is extinct.