Save The Hawaiian Bird Species

Oahu Elepaio (Chasiempis ibidis), an endangered bird type found only in Hawaii.

Oahu Elepaio81 Hawaiian bird species are already extinct, however environmentalists say 82nd may disappear too, if action for their protection are not taken.

Oahu Elepaio (Chasiempis ibidis) is a small bird weighting about 12 grams (1/2 oz). It has a dark brown crown and back, white breast with light brown streaks and usually holds its long, tipped tail at an angle.

Courthouse News Service states that the Oahu Elepaio population has been decimated by nonnative animal species, disease and loss of habitat. It occupies about 4 percent of its original range, with only about 1,200 birds in its 11,000 acres of remaining habitat in 2012, according to the Public Trust Conservancy.

The non-profit sued the Secretary of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act on Tuesday, claiming they failed to update the bird’s scientific name after scientists community changed its classification.

Oahu Elepaio“In 2010, the American Ornithologists’ Union changed the taxonomy of the Oahu Elepaio to recognize it as a distinct species – ‘Chasiempis ibidis.’ (Prior to 2010, it was recognized only as a subspecies, ‘Chasiempis sandwichensis ibidis‘),” according to the 5-page federal complaint.

The Conservancy wants to court to order the Fish and Wildlife Service “to update its present listing of the Oahu Elepaio bird as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act to reflect the reclassification.”

Co-plaintiff Kathleen Watson, a founder of the Conservancy, said it is critical for Fish & Wildlife to list the Oahu Elepaio properly to preserve it.

“The extinction of the Oahu Elepaio will be the extinction of a distinct species found nowhere else on earth,” she says in the complaint. “When it is gone, a distinct species will be gone forever.”


According to American Bird Conservancy since humans arrived, 71 of 113 bird species found nowhere else have become extinct on Hawai’i. Thirty-three of Hawai’i’s remaining 42 endemic birds are listed under the Endangered Species Act; ten of those have not been seen for decades and are likely extinct.

Remaining birds such as the ‘Akikiki, ‘I’iwi, and Maui Parrotbill face multiple threats, ranging from loss of their feeding and nesting areas to direct predation by invasive species.

It is extremely difficult to bring any species back from extinction, birds particularly, as they tend to be reclusive and difficult to trace. One successful campaign managed to save the Puerto Rican parrot, the only parrot species native to the island.

The multi-pronged recovery effort included habitat protection, providing nests for the birds, but above all, public education. Schoolchildren were taught that the bird was Puerto’s only parrot, and they educated their parents. Public interest was spurred and the bird and the campaign to save it became a matter of public pride.

Credits: Courthouse News Service & American Bird Conservancy

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