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Haleakala Native Birds

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© N.P.S.
Nene with Goslings - Hawaiian Goose - Branta (Nesochen) sandvicensis
The nene, or Hawaiian goose, is the rarest goose in the world. In 1951, there were only 30 nene left in the wild. Populations declined due to habitat loss, hunting and introduction of alien predators. Nene are vulnerable to introduced predators because they evolved in the islands with no natural predators. A reintroduction program reestablished nene populations on the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Kauai.

© S. Conant
Adult Nene (Hawaiian Goose)
The nene is the only remaining species of Hawaiian goose. Fossil records indicate that four other species of goose once existed on Maui. Two of these extinct species, like the nene, were relatively small and capable of flight. The other two species were larger, heavily constructed and flightless. It is estimated that as many as twelve species of geese once inhabited Hawaii. The nene have adaptations for life in Hawaii such as reduced webbing on their feet to aid in walking over sharp volcanic rock.

© N.P.S.
'I'iwi Hawaiian Honeycreeper - Vestiaria coccinea
This bird is fairly common on Maui in native forests above 4,000 feet in elevation. 'I'iwi feed on insects but depend more on nectar for sustenance. Their long, decurved beak can reach the nectar stored in deep-throated flowers. 'I'iwi feathers were used in ancient Hawaiian feather work for the Hawaiian royalty, or ali'i.

© P. Banko
Common 'Amakihi - Hawaiian Honeycreeper - Hemignathus virens
The common 'amakihi is one of the most abundant native forest birds. These yellowish-green birds feed on insects, nectar and fruit. The common amakihi is known to build its nest at the tips of branches. This may explain why the birds are successful even in areas with large populations of tree climbing black rats. Common 'amakihi are found in various habitats from alpine shrublands to rain forests. 'Amakihi have a wide tolerance to adverse conditions and some resistance to diseases. They are even seen feeding on nectar from alien plants. This adaptability to changing forest conditions bodes well for their continued survival.

© N. Carlson
Pueo - Hawaiian Short-eared Owl - Asio flammeus sandwichensis
The pueo, or Hawaiian short-eared owl, feeds on small rodents, insects and sometimes birds in the open shrublands of Haleakala. It is most active at dawn and dusk and is often seen flying overhead on cloudy days. The pueo is generally silent, but its call is a muffled bark. This bird is revered as aumakua, a guardian spirit, by many Hawaiians.

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