Palila

Loxioides bailleui TAXONOMY

Loxioides bailleui Oustalet, 1877.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Psittirostre palila; German: Palila; Spanish: Palila.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

6-6.5 in (15-16.5 cm); 2 oz (56 g). Fairly large, with large, parrotlike bill. Sexes show little variation in coloring, both have bright yellow crowns, faces and necks, gray backs, white bellies and flanks, and dark beaks; wings are gray edged with yellow. Male has a dark patch surrounding each eye, somewhat muted in the female.

DISTRIBUTION

Western slope of Mauna Kea on Big Island of Hawaii, 6,0008,000 ft (1,829-2,438 m) above sea level.

HABITAT

Cool, montane, mamane-niao forest.

BEHAVIOR

Tall trees and extensive crown cover among mamane (Sophora chrysophylla) and naio (Myoporum sandwicense) forests, with a high proportion of native understory plants for foraging and nesting. Call is loud, clear "chee-clee-o."

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds mainly on green seed pods of mamane trees, also mamane flowers, buds, naio berries, and caterpillars.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeding season March to September; female lays two eggs. CONSERVATION STATUS

Listed as Endangered federally and by the IUCN. The population is fairly large, with an upper estimate of 5,000, but within a restricted range. A complicating factor with palila is their site tenacity. Most palila translocated by wildlife biologists to other areas, even with adequate food sources, return to their original sites or die of stress.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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