Japanese White-eye in Hand
Non-native: Java Sparrow. Photo courtesy of Mike Neal
There are a number of non-native species that have been introduced through human activity in the last 100 years. Maui's native birds coevolved in isolation and developed specialized traits that minimize competition. Several non-native species occur within the same habitat, eat the same foods, and use similar foraging strategies as native birds. Direct competition for limited food and habitat may be a serious issue. Some of these introduced species are resistant to avian pox and malaria and may serve as reservoirs for these devastating diseases. Additionally, because these species are common island-wide, they may also spread seeds of invasive plants into native habitats.
Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus)
This small passerine native to Eastern Asia was intentionally introduced to the Hawaiian Islands around 1930. It quickly spread throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago and became the most abundant passerine on the islands today. The species is highly adaptable and occurs in all habitats in Hawai’i from sea level to tree-line. It is abundant in Hanawi Natural Area Reserve and The Nature Conservancy's Waikamoi Preserve. Japanese White-eyes have a varied diet which includes arthropods and their larvae as well as fruits and nectar. There is much overlap in habitat use and foraging strategies between this species and Maui's native forest birds and they may be major competitors for limited food resources.
Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea)
An extremely active, boldly colored passerine native to Southeast Asia, Southern China, and the Indian Himalayas, this popular cage bird was intentionally released in the Hawaiian Islands in 1911. Despite its behavior and striking coloration, it can be surprisingly difficult to locate as it flits through dense vegetation. It is found in a wide variety of habitats in the Hawaiian Islands and is fairly common in Hanawi where it forages in the understory on fruits and invertebrates.
Japanese Bush-warbler (Cettia diphone)
This drably plumaged denizen of dense forest understory and thickets can be very difficult to locate visually. It can be identified by its warm brown upperparts, drab whitish breast and flanks and conspicuous supercilium. During the breeding season, it makes a loud, distinctive song. This warbler-like passerine native to Japan was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in the 1930s. It is common on Oahu and within the last 10 years has spread to Moloka'i, Lana'i, Maui, and Kaua'i. On Maui, this species is rapidly increasing and is now common where we work and may be another competitor for food resources.
Melodius Laughing-thrush (Garrulax canorus)
This is another drably plumaged, skulking passerine fond of dense vegetation. It can be identified by its rusty-brown plumage, white 'spectacles', yellow bill and rich, varied song. Native to China and Southeast Asia, it was introduced to Hawai'i in the 1900s and is common on Kaua’i, Maui, and Hawai’i. It feeds on fruit and insects and is found in low numbers in high elevation forest.
Other introduced birds found on Maui - None of the following are native!
- Eurasian Sky Lark (Alauda avarensis)
- White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)
- Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
- Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
- Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
- Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla)
- Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata
- House Sparrow (Passer domesticus
- House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus
- Java Sparrow (Padda oryzivora)
- African Silverbill (Lonchura cantans
- Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)
- California quail (Callipepla californica)
- Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
- Chukar (Alectoris chukar)
- Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus)
- Gray Francolin (Francolinus podcicerianus)
- Red Jungle fowl (Chickens) (Gallus gallus)
- Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
- Indian Peafowl (Peacock) (Pavo cristatus)
- Cattle Egret (Bubuclus ibis)
- Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)
- Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
- Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)
- Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
- Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
There are many more introduced birds to Hawaii. Please view field guides in Resources for more information.