Island ecosystems, including the Hawaiian Islands, have some of the highest bird extinction rates in the world. Before the arrival of humans, the Hawaiian Islands supported 113 unique bird species, including flightless geese, ibis, rails and 59 species of honeycreepers. Already, 70 of those species have become extinct and at least 30 more are headed in that direction.
For more than a decade Pacific Birds has been focused on Hawaii’s wetlands inhabited by six endemic waterbird species. They are all endangered, primarily due to the loss and degradation of wetlands, the introduction of non-native plants and animals, competition for water resources, and avian disease. The effects of changes in climate, including sea level rise, will alter the dynamics of the remaining wetland systems. Throughout the Pacific Islands, avian species face these and other threats, creating a cascade of irreversible alterations to native habitats. More bird species could become extinct in less than a decade.
Hawaii's Endangered, Endemic Waterbirds include:
Pacific Birds is working with partners to:
Enhance networking within the Hawaii conservation community that will further focus collaborative efforts for habitat and bird conservation.
Generate a powerful base of public support and awareness for bird and habitat conservation in Hawaii.
Support critical research and prioritize the highest conservation needs for birds on the Hawaiian and other Pacific Islands.
BY THE NUMBERS: Hawaiian Wetlands & Waterbirds
Wetlands conservation is the key to helping endemic, endangered waterbirds on the islands.
“To many, the Hawaiian Islands are paradise. Unfortunately, they are also the bird extinction capital of the world. The islands are home to more bird species under threat of extinction than any other place on Earth. But with concerted efforts and working together we can make a difference and enable these bird species to thrive.”
– Brad Keitt, American Bird Conservancy
Because of the multiple urgent needs for bird conservation throughout Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, Pacific Birds is currently reviewing our long-standing Hawaii wetlands focus. We are considering expanding our prioirty to include the most critical and threatened habitats and species – regardless of their taxonomy. To make a difference for the islands' birds, we intend to work with existing and new partners to secure additional funding, enhance collaboration, and promote additional stewardship and outreach.
Latest Hawaiian Wetlands News
Two wetlands in Hawaii will soon undergo restoration projects, thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, the Hawaii State Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and local partners.
The Nēnē, or Hawaiian Goose, is Hawaiiʻs state bird. For visitors who are not familiar this striking endemic goose, it can seem odd to find it far from wetland habitats. It spends more time on land than most other geese, and even has reduced webbing on its feet that help it navigate lava flows and other terrestrial habitats.
The recent expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands will benefit multiple wildlife species, including Laysan Albatross and other sea and land birds….