Watch List Species Account for Maui ‘Alauahio |
Qualifies for the list as a Red List Species
|Photo: Jack Jeffrey
Now limited to eastern Maui, where it is found in just three forested areas, this species also once occurred on Lana’i, where it was last seen in 1937 and is now considered extirpated.
The Maui 'Alauahio's natural history was poorly known before an intensive study was initiated in 1994. The species is found primarily in native montane mesic and wet forest dominated by ‘ohi’a, but also occurs in alien montane forest composed mainly of pines. The bird feeds principally on arthropods, which it gleans from leaves, branches, and tree trunks. While foraging it hops and creeps up and down trunks and branches, often making short flights between trees. The species is found mostly above 5,000 feet; its estimated population is around 17,000 individuals.
The bird’s habitat is threatened by overgrazing by feral goats, axis deer, and other introduced ungulates, which strip native forests of vegetation. The bird is also at risk from disease and predation. In some forest edge localities it experiences high nest mortality due to rats; other predators may include Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl, mongoose, and feral cats.
Habitat restoration at higher elevations, above the range of introduced mosquitoes, will benefit the Maui 'Alauahio.