Friday, December 21, 2012

Bulletin 165 - Maui#1 marsh and shorebirds

Lisa and I spent last week on Maui supposedly attending a wedding. However, the wedding was cancelled, so we had the honeymoon in Hawaii!

There are a number of familiar North American breeding shorebirds, that winter on Maui, so it was fun to see them again. Maui has 2 wetland areas, both of which are wildlife refuges. The commonly occurring birds have local Hawaiian names but some of the rarer birds do not.

The Hawaiian Coot (Fulica alae) is known locally as 'Alae Ke'oke'o. It was recently split as a separate species from the American Coot. It looks identical. It is an endangered species. I had seen the coot on an earlier trip to Maui before the split, so it was not a lifer.

Hawaiian Coot
The local subspecies of Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is also endangered. Locally it is known as the Ae'o. The population was estimated at 1300 birds in the islands a decade ago. Like the coot above, this might be a potential split in the future.

Black-necked Stilt
The familiar Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) is known locally as 'Auku'u.

Black-crowned Night-Heron

The most common shorebird is the Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva). The local name is Kolea. As well as in the wet lands, this bird is found on lawns, golf courses etc all over the islands. In North America, however, it is found only in western Alaska while breeding, and occasionally as a vagrant along the west coast. Here are a couple of photos of the plover. Some golden feathers can still be seen on the back.

Pacific Golden-Plover

Pacific Golden-Plover
The next 4 birds were all firsts for me in Hawaii. The Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) is known as the 'Akekeke. It was fairly common in the pond areas and is IDed by the bright orange legs.

Ruddy Turnstone
Some Sanderlings (Calidris alba) also winter in Hawaii, where they are known as Hunakai.


The last of the common wintering shorebirds I found was the Wandering Tattler (Heteroscelus incanus). Its local name is 'Ulili. This 11" shorebirebird is all gray with a white belly and yellow legs. It is found on the west coast of North America, but seldom in the east. I have only seen it a few times in the past.

Wandering Tattler
The last shorebird is uncommon in Hawaii and does not have a local name. It isn't even illustrated in the Audubon Hawaiian Birds guide. A local survey of birds on Maui had been done a couple of weeks before and found just one of this species, so it was a stroke of luck to see it on a large mud flat among hundreds of other birds. This is the Semi-plamated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus). This bird summers in Alaska and mostly winter in the Americas, but a few must head over the ocean to Hawaii.

Semi-palmated Plover - Maui
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2012 David McDonald

To have these trip reports sent to your email, please email me at the above address and ask to subscribe.

No comments: