Maui Parrotbill / Pseudonestor xanthophrys

The Maui Parrotbill is named for its large parrot-like bill which it uses to split branches to find insect larvae, its primary prey. It is around 5 1/2 inches long, and predominantly olive-green above and yellow below with a very short tail and distinctive yellow eye-stripe. Female Parrotbills tend to be duller in color and have a smaller bill than males. Immature Parrotbills are predominantly greyish-olive above and pale yellow below with a whitish eye-stripe.

Maui Parrotbill song & call

The Maui Parrotbill is presently restricted to high elevation 'ohi'a forests in East Maui, although it was formerly common in koa forest and at lower elevations on Maui. Although its range extends over eight miles, it is centered in an area of less than 5,000 acres. This remaining habitat is largely protected within the Hanawi Natural Area Reserve, Haleakala National Park, and Waikamoi Preserve.

Historically rare, only 500 Parrotbills are estimated to exist today and are listed as federally endangered species. Factors attributed to the species’ decline include habitat destruction by humans and feral pigs, predation from introduced predators such as feral cats and mongooses, and avian diseases caused by the introduction of the mosquito.

Adult male Parrotbill / Eric VanderWerf

Immature Maui Parrotbill

Individual Maui Parrotll are given unique color band combinations for monitoring, like the male on to the left.

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