Threats to Birds - Introduced Parrots in Hawai'i

Photo: Clipart.com

 

Overview

 

There are ten species of parrots that have become established on Maui, and 18 species of parrots that have been recorded on other main islands, including Green and Red Mitred Conures, Red-crowned Amazon Parrots, Rose-wing Parakeets and Corella Cockatoos on the Big Island. These parrots are a pest to agriculture, especially growers of fruit, corn and seed crops. But they also threaten to further degrade Hawaii’s delicate ecosystem by spreading seeds of invasive plants, including Miconia, over large areas, introducing avian diseases, and through aggressive behavior. From two Mitred Conures (Aratinga mitrata) that were released in Huelo on Maui in 1986, there were an estimated 200 birds by 2003. Since Mitred Conures are known to fly 5 – 10 miles/day, can range to elevations as high as 8,300 feet, and tolerate low temperatures, they have the potential to reach and alter the remaining pristine habitat in high elevations on Maui.

 

 

 

 

 

Birds Affected

 

Parrots are known to kill other birds and to compete for nesting space. They have displaced Frigate Birds from roosting areas and they compete with shearwaters and petrels for nesting sites in cliff-side burrows.

 

Control

 

Lethal control of the Green and Red Mitred Conure population of 200 birds was proposed on Maui in 2003. Attempts to live-capture the parrots by a non-profit organization over a one-year period failed due to lack of funds