[Federal Register: October 16, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 200)]
[Page 59635-59636]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (``we'') announce the 
availability for public review and comment, the Draft Revised Recovery 
Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds. There are 21 bird taxa included in this 
plan, 19 are listed as endangered, 1 is a candidate species for Federal 
listing, and 1 is a species of concern. These taxa are from four bird 
families, with the majority being Hawaiian Honeycreepers (subfamily 
Drepanidinae within Fringillidae). This is a new recovery plan for two 
of the listed birds.

DATES: Comments on the draft recovery plan received by December 15, 
2003, will receive our consideration.

ADDRESSES: The document is available online at http://www.rl.fws.gov/ecoservices/
 endangered/recovery/default.htm. Copies of the draft 
revised recovery plan are available for inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the following location: U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala 
Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, P.O. Box 50088, Honolulu, Hawaii 96850 
(phone: 808/541-3441) and Hawaii State Library, 478 S. King Street, 
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. Requests for copies of the draft revised 
recovery plan and written comments and materials regarding this plan 
should be addressed to Paul Henson, Field Supervisor, Ecological 
Services, at the above U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Honolulu address.

Biologist, at the above Honolulu address.



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants is a 
primary goal of our endangered species program and the Endangered 
Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. Recovery means improvement of 
the status of listed species to the point at which listing is no longer 
appropriate under the criteria set out in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. 
Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for the 
conservation of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or 
delisting listed species, and estimate time and cost for implementing 
the measures needed for recovery.
    The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed 
species unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a 
particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act requires that public notice 
and an opportunity for public review and comment be provided during 
recovery plan development. We will consider all information presented 
during a public comment period prior to approval of each new or revised 
recovery plan. We, along with other Federal agencies, will also take 
these comments into account in the course of implementing approved 
recovery plans. Individual responses to comments will not be provided.
    This Draft Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds 
addresses 21 bird taxa. Three taxa are endemic to the island of 
Hawai'i, four taxa are endemic to the island of Maui, one taxon is 
endemic to the island of Moloka'i, two taxa are endemic to the island 
of O'ahu, and six taxa are endemic to the island of Kaua'i. Two taxa 
are endemic to all the major islands of Hawai'i, two taxa are endemic 
to the islands of Maui and Moloka'i, and one taxon is endemic to the 
islands of Moloka'i and La'i. The birds federally listed as endangered 
are: Maui nuku pu'u (Hemignatus lucidus affinus); Kaua'i nuku pu'u 
(Hemignathus lucidus hanapepe); Kaua`i `akialoa (Hemignathus procerus); 
'o'o'a'a or Kaua'i'o'o Moho braccatus); oloma'o or Moloka'i thrush 
(Myadestes lanaiensis rutha); kama'o or large Kaua'i thrush (Myadestes 
myadestinus); kakawahie or Moloka'i creeper (Paroreomyza flammea); 
O'ahu 'alauahio or O'ahu creeper (Paroreomyza maculata); Maui 'akepa 
(Loxops coccineus ochraceus); 'o'u (Psittirostra psittacea); po'ouli 
(Melamprosops phaeosoma); puaiohi or small Kaua'i thrush (Myadestes 
palmeri); Maui parrotbill (Pseudonesor xanthophrys); 'akia pola'au 
(Hemignathus munroi); palila (Loxioides bailleui); 'a kohekohe or 
crested honeycreeper (Palmeria dolei); O'ahu 'elepaio (Chasiempis 
sandwichensis ibidis); Hawai'i 'a kepa (Loxops coccineus coccineus); 
and Hawai'i creeper (Oreomystis mana). The candidate species is the 
Kaua'i creeper (Oreomystis bairdi), and the species of concern is the 
Bishop's 'o'o (Moho bishopi).
    Most taxa are now found only in upper elevation rain forests on the 
islands of Hawai'i, Maui, and Kaua'i. The palila is limited to dryland 
forests on Mauna Kea volcano on the island of Hawai'i. The O'ahu 
'elepaio occurs at elevations as low as 100 meters (330 feet) in non-
native forests on the island of O'ahu. Sub-fossil records and 
observations by early naturalists to the Hawaiian islands indicate that 
most of the species included in this plan once occurred at lower 
elevations. These taxa and their habitats have been variously affected 
or are currently threatened by

[[Page 59636]]

one or more of the following: habitat degradation by wild, feral, or 
domestic animals (pigs, goats, and deer); predation by animals (rats, 
cats, and mongoose); avian disease (malaria and avian pox); and habitat 
loss due to agriculture, ranching, forest cutting, and urbanization. 
Threats also include the expansion of invasive non-native plant species 
into native-dominated plant communities. In addition, due to the small 
number of existing individuals and their very narrow distribution, 
these taxa and most of their populations are subject to an increased 
likelihood of extinction from naturally-occurring events such as 
    The objective of this plan is to provide a framework for the 
recovery of these 21 taxa so that their protection by the Act is no 
longer necessary. Recovery will require protecting and managing forest 
bird habitat to maintain and enhance viable populations of endangered 
Hawaiian forest birds. Recovery actions include: measures to protect 
habitat where the taxa occur; restoration of degraded habitat; removal 
of feral ungulates from habitat areas; control of introduced rodents 
and feral cats that feed on forest birds; control of invasive plant 
species; reduction in numbers of mosquito breeding sites; captive 
propagation and translocation; and the development of means to address 
threats of avian disease. Management emphasis may differ among species, 
as taxa are affected differently and to varying degrees by different 
limiting factors. Habitat management and restoration will encourage the 
expansion of current populations into unoccupied habitat. However, the 
establishment of new populations using various translocation and/or 
captive propagation techniques will be needed in some cases to 
accelerate population expansion and to establish new populations in 
suitable habitat.
    Recovery objectives for each taxon are to: (1) Restore populations 
to levels that allow the taxon to persist despite demographic and 
environmental chance events, and are large enough to allow natural 
demographic and evolutionary processes to occur; (2) to protect enough 
habitat to support these population levels; and (3) to identify and 
remove the threats responsible for a taxon's endangered status. For all 
taxa, stabilization is the first (interim) objective. For species that 
are exceedingly rare (no individuals can currently be located), an 
interim objective is to first locate remaining individuals. In a few 
cases, insufficient forest bird habitat remains within a species' 
historic range to establish a second separate and distinct population, 
and further opportunities for habitat restoration do not exist. In 
these situations a species is unlikely to be delisted (by the criteria 
listed below), and downlisting is considered the interim recovery 
    The draft revised recovery plan indicates that a taxon may be 
reclassified from endangered to threatened based on the following 
criteria apply: (1) The species occurs in two or more viable 
populations or a viable metapopulation that represent the ecological, 
morphological, behavioral, and genetic diversity of the species; (2) 
quantitative surveys show either (a) the number of individuals in each 
isolated population or in the metapopulation has been stable or 
increasing for 15 consecutive years, or (b) demographic monitoring 
exhibits an average intrinsic growth rate (lambda, L) not less than 1.0 
over a period of at least 15 consecutive years; and total population 
size is not expected to decline by more than 20 percent within the next 
15 consecutive years for any reason; (3) sufficient habitat is 
protected and managed to achieve criteria 1 and 2 above; and (4) the 
major threats that were responsible for the species becoming endangered 
have been identified and controlled. The draft revised plan indicates 
delisting a taxon may be considered on the basis of persistence of 
those criteria for a period of 30 consecutive years.

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit written comments on the draft revised recovery plan 
described. All comments received by the date specified above will be 
considered in developing a final revised Hawaiian forest bird recovery 


    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533 (f).

    Dated: August 19, 2003.
David J. Wesley,
Deputy Regional Director, Region 1, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 03-26112 Filed 10-15-03; 8:45 am]