Hawaii is the home of unique plants, animals, and insects. Now, according to specialists, the Hawaiian bird population is in danger, and climate change is one of the main factors. Six of the beautiful bird species face the risk of extinction within the next ten years.
Specialists have recently focused on the situation of the honeycreepers, one of the many bird species that live in the Hawaiian islands. They are brightly colored and sing beautifully. According to specialists, their ancestors are finches. Their statistics show that there are only eighteen species of honeycreepers in Hawaii.
Climate change is only one of the elements which lead to the extinction of these species. The Hawaiian birds have also been diagnosed with avian malaria and avian poxvirus, both of them carried by mosquitoes. The insects infected the birds to such in an extent that they are diminishing the Hawaiians bird population.
Global warming allowed mosquitoes venture in areas where cold temperatures didn’t allow them to go before. Now they pose a threat to birds outside their specific habitat.
The authors of a new study on the Hawaiian bird population were surprised by the findings. They didn’t expect that the situation of the songbirds should be so severe. They previously thought that at least two of the now endangered species were safe.
The disappearance of a vast number of Hawaiian birds leads to changes in the islands’ ecosystems. Birds feed on insects, snails, seeds or nectar, which assures a particular hierarchy in the food chain. If the birds’ population is severely reduced, changes will also emerge, unbalancing ecosystems and food chains.
When honeycreepers started to spread across the Hawaiian islands, they faced no threats. However, the man brought rats to the islands, and now the rodents feed on the birds’ eggs. What’s more, they even attack female honeycreeper. It seems like they can’t take down a male, but females are fragile, which makes them easy prey. If the population of honeycreeper females is affected, it naturally follows that the odds of reproduction of the species are also minimized.
Biologists are concerned about the faith of these beautiful birds. They will struggle to find a solution that would help honeycreepers, as well as and other Hawaiian birds, to recover the numbers of their populations. However, for the time being, specialists are not very confident about it.
The new findings on the Hawaiian birds were published in the journal Science Advances.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia