Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Region

Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands

O‘ahu ‘Elepaio / Chasiempis sandwichensis ibidis

Photo of elepaio

The O‘ahu ‘elepaio is a small forest bird found only on the island of O‘ahu. It is a member of the monarch flycatcher family. Adults have a dark brown crown and back, white underparts with light brown streaks on the upper breast, and white wing bars, rump, and tail-tips. Their long tail is often held up at an angle.

‘Elepaio  - Photo credit Eric VanderWerf

Habitat & Behavior:
‘Elepaio are nonmigratory, territorial, and often mate for life.

Past & Present:
Once described as “the commonest native land bird to be found on the island,” the O‘ahu ‘elepaio is now an endangered species. The O‘ahu ‘elepaio was once common and widespread in forested areas throughout the island at all elevations. Currently, it is most often found in streamside vegetation and in mesic forest with a tall canopy and well-developed understory. The species is thought to occupy less than four percent (about 13,600 acres) of its original range. Six core subpopulations and several smaller subpopulations totaling approximately 2,000 birds are thought to remain in the world. The number of birds is divided about evenly between the Wai`anae Mountains in the west and the Ko‘olau Mountains in the east.

Conservation Efforts:
Primary threats to the O‘ahu ‘elepaio are diseases carried by introduced mosquitos, including avian pox and malaria; predation by introduced mammals, especially rats; and habitat degradation and loss caused by human impacts. Storms with high winds and heavy rains also are known to destroy nests. The O‘ahu ‘elepaio was placed on the list of endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on May 18, 2000. The O‘ahu ‘elepaio is included in the Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds (2006).


Last updated: September 20, 2012
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