Country/territory: USA

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A4i, A4ii (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 46,602 ha

Audubon / American Bird Conservancy
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2009 not assessed very high low
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2011 baseline)
Haleakala means "house of the sun" and is also the name of the active shield volcano that forms the eastern part of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. The Haleakala Important Bird Area encompasses most of the higher elevations of the volcano, from near sea level on the northern coast to the summit at 3,055 meters (10,023 feet). Prevailing northeasterly trade winds cause high rainfall on the northern and eastern slopes, while the southern and western sides of the mountain are drier. Annual rainfall ranges from about one meter (39.3 inches) in the southwest to over seven meters (275 inches) at around 1,000 meters elevation on the northeastern face. The northern and eastern slopes are covered in dense rainforest, the southern and western slopes support dry shrubland and mesic forest. Vegetation becomes shorter at higher elevations, giving way to subalpine shrubland and grassland above about 2,000 meters (6,600 feet). The crater and summit of Haleakala consist of bare lava and ash punctuated by many cinder cones, with only sparse vegetation. Three large canyons cut the flanks of Haleakala, Ko`olau Gap on the north and Kaupo Gap and Kipahulu Valley on the south. The windward slopes in particular have been eroded by numerous streams. Dense rainforests on the northern and eastern slopes have hindered human development, and these areas contain some of the most intact native ecosystems in Hawai`i. The drier southern and western slopes have been extensively altered by human development, timber harvesting, grazing, and agriculture. Invasive alien plants dominate much of the lowlands on all sides. The area is 46,602 hectares (115,106 acres) in size and includes Haleakala National Park, Hanawi State Natural Area Reserve, Ko`olau, Hana, Kipahulu, Kahikinui, Kula, and Makawao State Forest Reserves, Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area, State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, The Nature Conservancy's Waikamoi Preserve, and some private lands.

Key biodiversity
The Halekala IBA supports one of the greatest concentrations of endemic Hawaiian forest birds, including the entire population of several species that are endangered or of global conservation concern. The endangered Maui Parrotbill and Akohekohe or Crested Honeycreeper number about 500 and 3,700 individuals, respectively, and occur only in high elevation forests on northern and eastern Haleakala. The entire population of about 34,000 Maui Alauahio is also restricted to east Maui. Haleakala supports about 18,000 `I`iwi, another species of global conservation concern. `Apapane and Hawai`i `Amakihi occur on other islands and are somewhat more numerous at about 93,000 and 44,000 individuals, respectively, but these represent a large proportion of each species' total population. The remote forests of east Maui are the last possible refuge for two extremely rare endemic birds, the Po`ouli and Nukupu`u. The last known Po`ouli died in captivity in 2005, before a mate could be located, and no wild birds have been observed since. The Nukupu`u has not been observed on Maui since 1996, when a single bird was seen, and may be extinct. If either of these species still survive it is somewhere within the Haleakala IBA. Their status cannot be known with certainty until the most remote areas of Maui have been adequately searched. The endangered Nene or Hawaiian Goose was reintroduced to Maui starting in 1985, and the crater area of Haleakala now supports an important population of about 250 birds. Haleakala also supports one of the largest breeding populations of the endangered Hawaiian Petrel. Several hundred pairs nest in burrows among lava rocks near the summit and around the crater rim, where they are protected and find some safety from introduced predators.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Haleakala. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/haleakala-iba-usa on 03/10/2023.