Thursday, 14 June 2012

Maui parrotbill

Pseudonestor xanthophrys

Photo by Michael Neal (Neal Studios)

Common name:
Maui parrotbill (en); bico-de-papagaio-de-Maui (pt)psittirostre de Maui (fr); pinzón loro de Maui (es); papageischnabelgimpel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Drepanidae

This species is endemic to the island of Maui, in Hawaii, where it is only found on the north-eastern slopes of Haleakala.

These birds are 14 cm long and weigh 20-25 g.

The Maui parrotbill is only found in mountain mesic and wet tropical forest, at altitudes of 1.200-2.150 m.

They are insectivorous, using their bill to remove the bark of small trees and scrubs and collect the insects found underneath. They are known to eat larvae and pupae of wood- and fruit-boring beetles, moths and other invertebrates.

Maui parrotbills breed in November-June. The female builds the cup-shaped nest, using lichens and small twigs. The nest is placed in the outer canopy forks of mature ohia trees Metrosideros polymorpha, up to 12 m above the ground. There the female lays 1 egg, which she incubates alone for 16-17 days while receiving food from the male. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-20 days after hatching, but remain with their parents for another 5-8 months.

IUCN status - CR (Critically Endangered)
This species has a very small breeding range and the global population is estimated at just 500 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining owing to the effects of invasive species and other threats, although the rate of this decline as not been estimated. The Maui parrotbill is mostly threatened by habitat degradation caused by the spread of feral pigs, which have also facilitated the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes causing avian malaria outbreaks. Furthermore, having a mountain distribution that is close to the maximum altitude within its range, this species is potentially susceptible to climate change

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