Palmeria dolei


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Palmeria dolei
Species Authority: (Wilson, 1891)
Common Name(s):
English Akohekohe, 'Akohekohe, Crested Honeycreeper

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Baker, P., Camp, R., Fretz, S., Gorresen, M., Simon, J., VanGelder, E., VanderWerf, E. & Woodworth, B.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Derhé, M., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Stattersfield, A., Stuart, T. & Symes, A.
This species is listed as Critically Endangered because habitat within its extremely small range is being degraded through grazing by feral goats, with an imminent threat from feral deer posing a new pressure. It remains at risk from the effects of exotic taxa. A particular concern is the possible introduction of a disease-carrying mosquito species tolerant of the cooler climate at higher altitudes, thereby bringing currently safe populations of birds into contact with lethal diseases.

2012 Critically Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Palmeria dolei occurs on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands (USA) and is extinct on Moloka`i (last confirmed observations in 1907). On Maui, it remains moderately common within 58 km2 on the north-eastern slopes of Haleakala, with a population estimated at c.3,800 birds in 1980 (Scott et al. 1986). Surveys in the 1990s to 1997 indicate stability, although areas outside protected areas were not necessarily covered (Jacobi and Atkinson 1995, Berlin and VanGelder 1999).

United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Scott et al. (1986) estimated the population to number 3,800 individuals in total, roughly equivalent to 2,500 mature individuals.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It occurs in mesic `ohi`a-koa and wet `ohi`a forest from 1,100-2,300 m (99% above 1,500 m, mostly below 2,100 m). It primarily feeds on `ohi`a nectar, also taking invertebrates, especially caterpillars. When `ohi`a bloom is at its seasonal low, it feeds on subcanopy and understorey flowers and fruit (Scott et al. 1986, Berger 1972, P. Baker in litt. 1999, J. C. Simon in litt. 1999). Average adult male home range is 0.56 ha, giving rise to density figures of 2.9 birds/ha (Pratt et al. 2001). All known nests have been in `ohi`a trees (Berlin and VanGelder 1999). It raises 1-2 young per nest, usually nesting twice seasonally (November to June [Simon et al. 2001]), and has a relatively high success rate (J. C. Simon in litt. 1999, Simon et al. 2001). Adult survivorship is similarly high (Simon et al. 2001). Birds, perhaps especially immatures, may disperse to lower elevations (Berlin and VanGelder 1999).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat destruction and modification and the rapid spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes in the lowlands are thought to be responsible for past declines. The species may be particularly vulnerable to mosquito-borne diseases because it migrates altitudinally in response to varying `ohi`a flowering physiology, potentially increasing exposure to mosquitoes at lower elevations (USFWS 2003). From 1945 to 1995, the spread of feral pigs on Haleakala caused chronic habitat degradation (Loope and Medeiros 1995) and facilitated the spread of mosquitoes into remote rainforests (Pratt 1994). In Hanawi Natural Area Reserve, there was a 473% increase in pig activity, as indexed by ground-cover disturbance, during 1970-1997 (Rosa et al. 1998), and this reduced alternative food sources to `ohi`a bloom (Berlin and VanGelder 1999). Predation by introduced rats, cats and Barn Owl Tyto alba and possibly small Indian mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus is a further limiting factor (Berlin and VanGelder 1999, J. M. Scott in litt. 1999, J. C. Simon in litt. 1999, E. VanGelder in litt. 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Cooperative management of the East Maui watershed includes fencing at c.1,070 m and removal of feral ungulates (Loope and Medeiros 1995, P. Baker in litt. 1999). In the Waikamoi Preserve, Hanawi Natural Area Reserve and Haleakala National Park, conservation practices combat the establishment of alien plants and, from the late 1980s, feral pigs have been controlled (Loope and Medeiros 1995, Simon et al. 1997). Research into captive breeding is underway, and six individuals have been hatched from late-stage wild eggs (USFWS 2003). A banding study investigating productivity and survival began in 2008 (Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project). A research project began in 2013 using radio-tracking to determine juvenile and adult habitat selection, dispersal and seasonal movements (Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project 2013).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to obtain an up-to-date estimate of the population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Preserve remote and ecologically diverse areas, especially on the northern slopes of Haleakala (Berlin and VanGelder 1999). Extend plant control to areas outside reserves, especially at mid-elevations (Loope and Medeiros 1995, Simon et al. 1997). Complete and routinely monitor the East Maui watershed habitat conservation programme (P. Baker in litt. 1999, J. C. Simon in litt. 1999). Establish a population in historically occupied habitat to reduce the threat from catastrophes that could wipe out a single population (USFWS 2003). Support development of captive-breeding efforts.

Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Palmeria dolei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 16 September 2014.
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