The INSTITUTE for BIRD POPULATIONS
PACIFIC ISLANDS BIRD CONSERVATION
 
RECENT RESEARCH

Pacific Islands Research banner photo
This Purple-capped Fruit Dove was captured, banded, and released at an IBP bird monitoring station in American Samoa.

Landbirds of Saipan and American Samoa

Many islands are facing a crisis. Of the birds that have become extinct in past 400 years, approximately 90 percent were island dwellers.

Why do so many extinctions occur on islands? Island species are vulnerable because they have a small geographic range and usually have low numbers, making them vulnerable to disease, fire, and population fluctuations. Human development and hunting also take a toll, and inadvertently introduced pests such as rats and snakes can wreak havoc on populations that did not evolve under these pressures. And with no place from which to draw recruits, they are more vulnerable than their mainland counterparts.

In 2008, IBP established a partnership with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to study bird populations on Saipan. Many aspects of tropical bird ecology differ fundamentally from those of temperate birds. Non-synchronous, nearly year-round breeding, for example, necessitates a change in survey methods. The goals of our Saipan work are to:

  • Provide annual estimates of adult population size, survival, post-fledging productivity, and recruitment
  • Relate avian demographic data to weather and habitat
  • Fill substantial information gaps about the basic biology of Pacific island landbirds, particularly relating to their life-histories, molt strategies, age/sex-determination criteria, and nesting phenology.

Following the success of our program on Saipan, IBP has established a similar project in American Samoa. We have operated six demographic monitoring stations on the island of Tutuila since 2012, six stations on Ta'u Island since 2013, and six stations on the islands of Ofu and Olosega since 2015.

For more information about IBP’s work on Pacific Islands, contact Lauren Helton.

Northwest National Parks map
 
Photo Credits: Top of Page, IBP; Right Column, IBP
 

IBP Biologist Discovers New Species

Bryan's Shearwater is one of the least understood seabirds in the world. It was first described in 2011 by IBP Biologist Peter Pyle, based on a specimen collected in 1963 from a rocky crevice on Midway Atoll.

Peter then documented another individual on Midway in 1990-92. Recent specimens from the Ogasawara Islands, Japan were also collected in rocky crevices, and were possibly individuals co-utilizing burrows with summer-breeding Bulwer's Petrels.

Bird Photo

This habitat is not found naturally on low-lying atolls in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands; however, it does occur on Nihoa and Necker Islands, where Bulwer's Petrels breed abundantly.

Digitized video and vocalization recordings from 1991 on Midway, detailed here, are being used to locate breeding Bryan's Shearwaters in the Ogasawara Islands; similar monitoring could be considered for other potential areas such as Nihoa and Necker Islands.

For additional information about Bryan’s Shearwater, including video and audio recordings of Bryan's Shearwater and audio recordings of other small shearwaters, click here.

Bird Photo
 
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SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Peer-reviewed Publications Authored by IBP Personnel

Pyle, P., D.L. Webster, and R.W. Baird. 2016. White-rumped dark storm-petrels in Hawaiian Island waters: The quandary of Leach's vs. Band-rumped storm-petrels throughout the world. Birding 48(1):58-73. PDF

Pyle, P., K. Tranquillo, K. Kayano, and N. Arcilla. 2016. Molt patterns, age criteria, and molt-breeding dynamics in American Samoan landbirds. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 128:56–69. PDF

Saracco, J.F., P. Radley, P. Pyle, E. Rowan, R. Taylor, and L. Helton. 2016. Linking vital rates of landbirds on a tropical island to rainfall and vegetation greenness. PLoS ONE 11(2):e0148570. Available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0148570.

Aslan, A., P. Hart, J. Wu, and C.E. Aslan. 2014. Evaluating the qualitative effectiveness of a novel pollinator: a case study of two endemic Hawaiian plants. Biotropica 46:732-739. PDF

Pyle, P., R. David, B.D. Eilerts, A.B. Amerson, A.B. Borker, and M. McKown. 2014. Second record of Bryan’s Shearwater Puffinius bryani from Midway Atoll, with notes on habitat selection, vocalizations, and at-sea distribution. Marine Ornithology 42:5-8. PDF

Wu, J.X., D.M. Delparte, and P.J. Hart. 2014. Movement patterns of a native and non-native frugivore in Hawaii and implications for seed dispersal. Biotropica 46:175-182. PDF

Junda, J., A.L. Crary, and P. Pyle. 2012. Two modes of primary replacement during prebasic molt of Rufous Fantails (Rhipidura rufifrons). The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 124:680-685. PDF

Pyle, P. 2011. Nomenclature of the Laysan Honeycreeper, Himatione [sanguinea] fraithii. The Bulletin of the British Ornithological Club 131:116-117. PDF

Pyle, P. A.J. Welch, and R.C. Fleischer. 2011. A new species of shearwater (Puffinus) recorded from Midway Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The Condor 113:518-527. PDF

Pyle, P., and M.B. Main. 2011. Surveying and monitoring birds. Pages 49-90 in: M.B. Main, editor. Wildlife Monitoring: Florida Master Naturalist Program Special Topics. Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Immokalee, FL.

Pyle, P., D.L. Webster, and R.W. Baird. 2011. Notes on petrels of the Dark-rumped Petrel complex (Pterodroma phaeopygia/sandwichensis) in Hawaiian waters. North American Birds 65:364-367. PDF

Radley, P., A. L. Crary, J. Bradley, C. Carter, and P. Pyle. 2011. Molt patterns, biometrics, and age and gender classification of landbirds on Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123:588-594. PDF

Pyle, R.L., and P. Pyle. 2009. The Birds of the Hawaiian Islands: occurrence, history, distribution, and status. B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI, U.S.A. Version 1 (31 December 2009). Available at http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/birds/rlp-monograph.

Pyle, P. 2008. Book review: N.E. Evenhuis, Barefoot on lava. Western Birds 39:230-232. PDF

LeValley, R., and P. Pyle. 2007. Notes on plumage maturation in the Red-tailed Tropicbird. Western Birds 38:306-310. PDF

McKee, T., and P. Pyle. 2002. Plumage variation and hybridization in Black-footed and Laysan Albatrosses. North American Birds 56:131-138. PDF

Pyle, P., N. Hoffman, B. Casler, and T. McKee. 2001. Little and Least Terns breeding on Midway Atoll: identification, range extensions, and assortative breeding behavior. North American Birds 55:3-6. PDF

Spear, L.B., D.G. Ainley, and P. Pyle. 1999. Seabirds in southeastern Hawaiian waters Western Birds 30:1-32. PDF

Pyle, P., and J. Nestler. 1998. First record of Cuculus cuckoo on Midway Atoll and the Hawaiian Islands. Western Birds 29:124-127. PDF

Howell, S.N.G., P. Pyle, L.B. Spear, and R.L. Pitman. 1993. North American migrant birds on Clipperton Atoll. Western Birds 24:73-80. PDF

Pyle, P., L. Spear, and J. Engbring. 1990. A previously unreported population of Herald Petrel on Ta’u Island, American Samoa. Colonial Waterbirds 13:136-137. PDF

Bailey, S.F., P. Pyle, and L.B. Spear. 1989. Dark Pterodroma petrels in the North Pacific identification, status and North American occurrence. American Birds 43:400-415. PDF

Pyle, P., and J. Engbring. 1988. First described nest of a Truk Greater White-eye. Elepaio 48:11-14. PDF

Pyle, P., and J. Engbring. 1987. New bird records and migrant observations from Micronesia, 1977-1984. Micronesica 21:281-283. PDF

Pyle, P., and J. Engbring. 1985. Checklist of the Birds of Micronesia. Eleapaio 21:281-282. PDF

Peer-reviewed Publications by Other Researchers

Su, M.R., and R.S. Lin. 2015. Sexing, aging and molt patterns of White-tailed Robin Cinclidium leucurum monti. The Taiwan Journal of Biodiversity 17:287-300. (In Chinese with English abstract) PDF

Hsu, T.C., and H.J. Shiu. 2014. A comparison of bird point count and mist netting used in a lowland shrub in southern Taiwan. The Taiwan Journal of Biodiversity 16:51-61. (In Chinese with English abstract) PDF

Jones, S.E.I. 2014. A first documented record of black-naped tern (Sterna sumatrana) for Tutuila Island, American Samoa. Notornis 61:113-115. PDF

Yang, C.Y., S.P. Yo, and R.S. Lin. 2014. Estimation of survival rate for Alcippe morrisonia, Alcippe brunnea, Stachyris ruficeps, and Pomatorhinus ruficollis by using capture-recapture method. M.S. Thesis, Department of Life Sciences, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan. PDF

Lin, R.S., C.Y. Yang, Y.W. Mei, and H.Y. Sung. 2013. Preliminary investigation of the prevalence of avian pox-like lesions in resident passerines in Taiwan. The Taiwan Journal of Biodiversity 15:219-231. (In Chinese with English abstract) PDF

Other Publications and Reports

Pyle, P., K. Kayano, K. Murphy, A.J. Pate, M. Soderbergh, C. Taft, N. Weyandt, B. Wilcox, D. Kaschube, and L. Helton. 2016. The Tropical Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (TMAPS) Program in American Samoa: 2016 report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Pyle, P., K. Kayano, J. Reese, V. Morgan, R.S. Mulitalo, J. Tigilau, S. Tuvalu, D. Kaschube, R. Taylor, and L. Helton. 2015. The Tropical Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (TMAPS) Program in American Samoa: 2015 report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Saracco, J.F., L. Helton, and P. Pyle. 2015. Seasonal demographics of landbirds on Saipan: report on the 2013-14 TMAPS program. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Su, M.R., J.H. Chen, S.S. Chen, H.I. Syu, D.S. Hu, L.L. Wu, Y.Z. Cai, S.H. Wu, P.J. Lin, G.J. Hong, J.L. Lai, and R.S. Lin. 2015. The 2014 annual report of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program in Taiwan. The Endemic Species Research Institute, Nantou, Taiwan. (In Chinese with English abstract) PDF

Su, M.R., J.H. Chen, S.S. Chen, H.I. Syu, D.S. Hu, L.L. Wu, Y.Z. Cai, S.H. Wu, P.J. Lin, J.L. Lai, and R.S. Lin. 2015. The 2015 annual report of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program in Taiwan. The Endemic Species Research Institute, Nantou, Taiwan. (In Chinese with English abstract) PDF

Pyle, P., N.S. Arcillo, K. Tranquillo, K. Kayano, A. Doyle, S. Jones, D. Kaschube, R. Taylor, and E. Rowan. 2014. The Tropical Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (TMAPS) Program in American Samoa: 2014 report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Saracco, J.F., P. Pyle, E. Rowan, R. Taylor, and P. Radley. 2014. Closed robust design modeling of 2013 Saipan TMAPS capture-recapture Data. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Saracco, J.F., P. Radley, P. Pyle, E. Rowan, and R. Taylor. 2014. Vital rates of landbirds on Saipan and links to remote-sensed habitat data: a summary of five years (2008-2012) of the Tropical Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (TMAPS) program on Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Song, S.Y., J.H. Chen, S.S. Chen, M.R. Su, H.I. Syu, D.S. Hu, L.L. Wu, Y.Z. Cai, R.C. Jhang, S.H. Wu, and R.S. Lin. 2014. The 2013 annual report of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program in Taiwan. The Endemic Species Research Institute, Nantou, Taiwan. (In Chinese with English abstract) PDF

Pyle, P., N.S. Dauphine, K. Tranquillo, C. Nell, E. Jeffreys, D. Kaschube, R. Taylor, and E. Rowan. 2013. The Tropical Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (TMAPS) Program in American Samoa: 2013 report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Song, S.Y., J.H. Chen, S.S. Chen, M.R. Su, H.I. Syu, D.S. Hu, L.L. Wu, Y.Z. Cai, R.C. Jhang, Z.C. Syu, and R.S. Lin. 2013. The 2012 annual report of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program in Taiwan. The Endemic Species Research Institute, Nantou, Taiwan. (In Chinese with English abstract) PDF

Pyle, P., J.F. Saracco, P. Radley, and D.R. Kaschube. 2012. The Tropical Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (TMAPS) Program on Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: 2011-2012 Report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Pyle, P., N.S. Dauphine, D. Lipp, R. Badia, R. Taylor, and E. Rowan. 2012. The Tropical Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (TMAPS) Program in American Samoa: 2012 report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Pyle, P.2012. Updated Manual for Ageing and Sexing Landbirds of American Samoa. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA PDF

Song, S.Y., J.H. Chen, S.S. Chen, M.R. Su, H.I. Syu, D.S. Hu, L.L. Wu, Y.Z. Cai, C.H. Ou-yang, Y.R. Cheng, and R.S. Lin. 2012. The 2011 annual report of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program in Taiwan. The Endemic Species Research Institute, Nantou, Taiwan. (In Chinese with English abstract) PDF

Pyle, P., J.F. Saracco, P. Radley, and D.R. Kaschube. 2010. The Tropical Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (TMAPS) Program on Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: 2010 Report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Pyle, P., J.F. Saracco, P. Radley, D.R. Kaschube, A.L. Crary, and J. Junda. 2009. The Tropical Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship Program on Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; 2009 report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Pyle, P., P. Radley, J. Bradley, and C. Carter. 2008. Manual for ageing and sexing Saipanese birds, with notes on breeding seasonality. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Fishand Wildlife Research Program, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

Saracco, J.F., P. Radley, D.R. Kaschube, J. Bradley, C. Carter, and P. Pyle. 2008. The Tropical Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (TMAPS) Program on Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: 2008 report. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF

The INSTITUTE for BIRD POPULATIONS