Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands
O‘ahu Creeper / Paroreomyza maculata / ‘Aluahio
||The ‘aluahio is 4 1/2 inches in length and sexes differ in color. Female birds are gray to grayish green above and yellowish white below, and usually have white wingbars. Males are olive-green above and golden yellow below, and do not have wingbars.
|O‘ahu Creeper - Painting by Sheryl Ives Boynton
Habitat & Behavior:
This extremely rare bird occurs in ‘ōhi‘a-koa forests between 1,000 to 2,000 feet in elevation. Often mistaken for the ‘amakihi, the ‘aluahio can be distinguished by its nearly straight bill (rather than decurved), the dark stripe beginning with the lores extending past the eye on the ‘aluahio and not on the ‘amakiki, and the lighter forehead and pale lower mandible of the ‘aluahio.
The ‘aluahio moves up and down tree trunks and large branches as it searchs for insects. The last confirmed sighting of this bird was in 1985 and three unconfirmed sightings from 1984 to 1993. Their exact diet is not known. This bird’s song is also not known, but their call has been described as “chip.”
Past & Present:
During the 1890s, creepers were reported to be abundant on all islands except O‘ahu. Only three were found during an intensive survey conducted during 1977-78. Habitat degradation and destruction, human exploitation, predation, avian diseases, and competition with introduced species are all factors that have contributed to the decline of the ‘aluahio and many other native forest birds.
The ‘aluahio was listed as an endangered species in October 1970 under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds was published in 2006, recommending active land management and fencing to keep feral animals out of the dwindling forest bird habitat.
September 20, 2012