Hawaiian birds are among the most endangered in the United States, because their unique adaptations to life on the islands, developed over millions of years of isolation, has made them vulnerable to predators, habitat changes and competition from invasive species, among other threats.
But there's good news for three shorebirds, the Hawaiian common moorhen, the Hawaiian coot and the Hawaiian black-necked stilt (pictured here). While all three have been on the Endangered Species List for more than 40 years, all three are gaining in population according to a new study by scientists from Tufts University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Aberdeen.
Not surprisingly, the populations are on the rise on islands that have protected wetland habitat (Oah'u and Kaua'i) but not islands that have not (Hawai'i and Maui).
"Similarly, at places like Hanawi Natural Area Reserve on Maui and Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the island of Hawai'i, forest birds populations are stable or increasing because of aggressive management," said George E. Wallace, American Bird Conservancy's vice president for oceans and islands. "This is the kind of work that is needed to conserve Hawai'is imperiled birds; we just need it on a much grander scale."
Populations of the species remain vulnerable, particularly since populations remain small and many live in isolated areas that could be wiped out in a single weather disaster.
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