Supplementary feeding has proven to be a successful conservation tool for many species, including New Zealand’s hihi (stitchbird, Notiomystis cincta). Previous research has shown supplementary feeding to substantially increase hihi reproductive success at regenerating forest sites, but suggested that it would have reduced benefit in mature forest habitat. Here we report the first direct test of the effect of supplementary feeding on hihi reproductive success in mature forest, using data from the recently reintroduced population at Maungatautari Ecological Island.
Avian malaria, caused by Plasmodium spp., has been reported as a cause of morbidity and mortality in New Zealand bird populations. The prevalence of Plasmodium lineages in the Waimarino Forest was evaluated in NZ robins (Petroica longipes), other passerines, blue ducks (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos), and brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli), using nested PCR. The presence of P. sp. lineage LINN1, P. (Huffia) elongatum lineage GRW06 and P. (Novyella) sp.
Tiritiri Matangi Island is one of the oldest community-driven island restoration projects in New Zealand. While great effort has been directed towards recovery of vegetation and avian communities since the 1980s, restoration of the island’s reptile fauna has not been initiated until early 2000s. Tiritiri Matangi supports only three remnant reptile species, which is considerably low given the island’s size and geographic location. In recognition of this and the importance of reptiles in ecosystem function, translocations of several reptile species have been undertaken.
Age and structure of local vegetation (habitat complexity) are commonly assumed to be indicators of habitat quality for breeding birds, but for many species these relationships are poorly understood. The hihi (stitchbird Notiomystis cincta),an endangered New Zealand cavity-nesting passerine that only survives on mammalian predator-free islands or within fenced areas, has been the focus of intensive conservation management and research. Between 1992 and 2004 we examined the fledging success of 347 nests from four island populations.
Translocation to island reserves is a common strategy in New Zealand and elsewhere for safeguarding species against introduced predators. When successful, however, the closed nature and relatively small size of many island sanctuaries can result in populations quickly reaching their carrying capacity, which in itself can present further challenges such as reduced productivity and population growth rates associated with density-dependent effects as well as increased rates of inbreeding.
Mortality and/or dispersal immediately after release can cause translocated populations to fail over both the short and long term, particularly at mainland sanctuaries. However, post-release mortality and dispersal can be limited by releasing individuals with an increased probability of survival and site attachment. We monitored a South Island saddleback (tieke; Philesturnus carunculatus carunculatus) population, translocated to a mainland sanctuary, for one year after release to understand the combined influence of post-release mortality and dispersal on initial establishment.
Reintroduction programmes need to be monitored as a way of gauging potential causes of their success or failure. This, in turn, can be used to improve the likelihood of future translocation success. Since the 1990s, stitchbird (or hihi: Notiomystis cincta) translocations have been intensively monitored, with comparisons between two of these projects (Tiritiri Matangi Island – a successful introduction, and Mokoia Island – an unsuccessful introduction) often compared and contrasted as a means of identifying factors important in translocation success for this species.
New Zealand’s offshore and outlying islands have long been a focus of conservation biology as sites