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image: poouli.jpg

Hawaiian Name: Po’o-uli
Common Name: Black-faced Honeycreeper
Scientific Name: Melamprosops phaeosoma

Size: 5 ½ inches (14 cm)

Habitat: Oceania; Hawaiian Islands North-eastern slopes of Haleakala on the island of Mau’i. Found in the ‘Ohi'a-lehua forests.

Status: Presumed Extinct (2006). Global Population: 2? At the printing of this manual, it is believed that there may be 1 or 2 males left. The last remaining female died in late 2004. In 1973, the estimated population was felt to be less than 200 birds. The dramatic population decline has been attributed to a number of factors, including habitat loss; mosquito-borne diseases; predation by pigs, rats, domestic cats, and mongooses; and a decline in the native tree snails that the Po’o-uli relies on for food.

Diet: Snails, insects, and spiders.

Nesting: Nests are built of twigs and mosses and were located in leafy branches of Ohi'a-lehua trees. 1-2 eggs are laid.

Cool Facts: Po’o-uli loosely translated means “Dark Head” or “Bandit Mask”.

A desperate attempt to save a species: “In 2002, a female was captured and taken to a male's home range in an attempt to get them to breed. The female, however, had flown back to her own nest, which was a mile and a half away, by the next day. There was also a ten-day expedition which was scheduled to begin on April 27, 2004. The goal of this was to capture all three birds, and bring them to a bird conservation center on the island in the hope they would produce offspring.

On September 9, 2004, a male Po’o-uli was captured and taken to the Maui Bird Conservation Center in Olinda, in an attempt to captively breed the bird. However, biologists could not find a mate for the male before it died of avian malaria on November 28, 2004. Biologists are now searching for the two remaining birds, which have not been seen for over a year and are probably dead too. Tissue samples have been taken from the male for possible future cloning, but as neither birds of the opposite sex are now available nor natural behavior can be imprinted on possible cloned individuals (assuming that cloning of birds will actually be established as a working technique, which currently is not the case), this does not seem probable. As such efforts would likely compete with conservation funding of extant bird species, it may not even be desirable as a cloning attempt would both be highly likely to fail and at the same time jeopardize the survival of other highly threatened species. (VanderWerf et al. (2006)).

Found in Songbird ReMix Threatened Endangered Extinct 2 and Songbird ReMix Hawai'i

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