Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Evening Roosting Flights of the Honeycreepers Himatione sanguinea and Vestiaria coccinea on Hawaii

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1980
Authors:Macmillen, RE, F. Carpenter, L
Journal:The Auk
Date Published:1980
ISBN Number:00048038
Keywords:Drepanis, Drepanis coccinea, Fringillidae, Himatione, Himatione sanguinea, Vestiaria, Vestiaria coccinea
Abstract:The Hawaiian honeycreepers Himatione sanguinea and Vestiaria coccinea regularly make evening flights in mixed flocks above Metrosideros forest canopy during the summer. These flights originate throughout the forest and converge on a common roosting area on the eastern flank of Mauna Loa, Hawaii. An estimated 42,000 birds (with Himatione far outnumbering Vestiaria) comprised the 1.5-h flight on the evening of 26 July 1974 between observation stations located at elevations of 1,350 and 1,850 m (linear distance of 7.6 km). The magnitudes of the evening flights are directly related to the quality of the forest (both structural and floral) from which the flights originate, with the nectar-producing tree Metrosideros collina being the primary determinant and food source. Although these flights are energetically costly, we believe they result in an overall overnight energy savings as a result of the thermal protection afforded by the mature forest comprising the common roosting area and escape from a lower elevation nightly fog belt. The formation of loose, mixed-species flocks during the evening roosting flights may provide greater awareness of and protection from aerial predation. The presence of rather widely separated foraging and roosting areas in Himatione and Vestiaria indicates the need for better understanding of their movements and spatial requirements, which are important factors to the continued survival of these presently common honeycreeper species.
Short Title:The Auk
Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith