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Researchers: Japanese bird threat to Hawaii birds

May 26, 2012
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Eight bird species native to Hawaii are being threatened by an invasive Japanese bird.

Two University of Hawaii researchers have found the Japanese white-eye mejiro has wiped out tens of thousands of native birds at the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the Big Island.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that the researchers found that as the number of mejiros grew, young birds of the natives species showed stunted growth, indicating food was scarce, and birds of all ages had trouble replacing their feathers as they wore out.

Researcher Leonard Freed says the Japanese bird is particularly bad for one species, the akepa.

The reserve was established in 1985 in part to protect those eight species.

The researchers' findings appeared Wednesday in the journal NeoBiota.



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