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Bonin White-eye Apalopteron familiare
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has been downlisted from Vulnerable following evidence that its population is larger than previously estimated and is probably stable and not declining, as previously inferred. The species is listed as Near Threatened because it remains susceptible to the impacts of extreme weather events, which could result in it qualifying as threatened within one or two generations.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

13.5 cm. Small, yellow and olive-green honeyeater with a distinctive facial pattern. Mainly olive-green upperparts with yellowish tinge, pale yellow below with grey on flanks. Black patch extends from above to below eye and joins black line across forehead. White eye-ring. Black legs. Voice Various whistling calls.

Distribution and population
Apalopteron familiare is endemic to the Ogasawara Islands, Japan, where it has been recorded from all three island groups, the Mukojima, Chichijima and Hahajima Islands. The nominate subspecies is now probably extinct, having been confined to Mukojima and not observed since the 1930s (del Hoyo et al. 2008). The species has also been extirpated from Chichijima (Suzuki and Morioka 2005). On Hahajima, it occurs on the main island and two small satellite islands—Imotojima and Mukohjima (Kawakami et al. 2008, Kawakami and Higuchi 2013), with the majority of the population found on the main island. Analysis of DNA reveals that dispersal between the islands is very rare and that they should be regarded as three distinct populations (Kawakami et al. 2008). This species's populations have been estimated at c.14,700 mature individuals on Hahajima, c.480 mature individuals on Mukohjima and c.420 mature individuals on Imotojima, based on data collected in the late 1990s (Kawakami and Higuchi 2013). Following considerable historical losses, the range and population are now thought to be stable. Kawakami and Higuchi (2013) conducted a population viability analysis and found that the probability of extinction for the main (Hahajima) population remained at 0% even when the carrying capacity decreased to 10% of its present value. The other two small populations were found to be more sensitive to any decrease in breeding success rate or carrying capacity (Kawakami and Higuchi 2013).

Population justification
This species's populations have been estimated at c.14,700 mature individuals on Hahajima, c.480 mature individuals on Mukohjima and c.420 mature individuals on Imotojima, based on data collected in the late 1990s (Kawakami and Higuchi 2013). These estimates are assumed to equate to a total population of c.15,600 mature individuals, probably equivalent to c.23,400 individuals in total.

Trend justification
Following considerable historical losses, the range and population are now thought to be stable (K. Kawakami in litt. 2012), and possibly have been for several decades (Kawakami and Higuchi 2003).

It inhabits low secondary forest, forest edge, bushes, plantations and gardens. On Hahajima, it favours forest with well-developed undergrowth, feeding mainly 2-6 m above the ground, mostly on invertebrates. Nests are situated in tree forks and occasionally in tree cavities (Kawakami and Higuchi 2002b).

Virtually all the original subtropical forest has already been cleared from the Ogasawara Islands, leading to extinction on several islands, presumably as a result of the wholesale destruction of its habitat. Economic development on Hahajima Island, including developments for tourism, and a consequent reduction in forest cover, may have important implications for the species. However, Kawakami and Higuchi (2013) noted that c.60% of the current forest area on Hahajima was cultivated before World War II and that the species may therefore be tolerant of habitat conversion. Further invasions by exotic species remain a potential problem. Predation by domestic and feral cats may pose a minor threat (Kawakami and Higuchi 2002a). Nest predation by introduced black rats may be a threat on Hahajima (Kawakami in litt. 2012), but rats do not currently seem to be affecting the population. Brown rats are apparently established on the satellite islands of Hahajima. Competition with introduced Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus was found to have little or no negative effect on this species (Kawakami and Higuchi 2003).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is legally protected in Japan. The Ogasawara Islands are a National Wildlife Protection Area, established primarily for this species. An active conservation programme is underway there, including the propagation and reintroduction of threatened native plants. Feral cat eradication is on-going on Hahajima. Invasive trees are being removed from Hahajima and its satellites. Rat eradication is planned for Imotojima and Mukohjima.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to survey islands in its range to determine population trends and identify islands that still support populations. Establish a monitoring programme on Hahajima Island. Promote habitat protection and restoration of forest with well-developed undergrowth on Hahajima Island and other smaller islands where populations persist. Study the reasons for its extinction on previously occupied islands, and evaluate current threats to extant populations. Study the feasibility of reintroduction to other islands in Ogasawara, including the establishment of a captive breeding programme to support such actions.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2008. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Kato, M.; Numata, M.; Watanabe, K.; Hata, M. 1995. Natural monuments of Japan. Kodansha, Tokyo.

Kawakami, K.; Harada, S.; Suzuki, T.; Higuchi, H. 2008. Genetic and Morphological Differences Among Populationsof the Bonin Islands White-eye in Japan. Zoological Science 25: 882–887.

Kawakami, K.; Higuchi, H. 2002. Bird predation by domestic cats on Hahajima Island, Bonin Islands, Japan. Ornithological Science 143: 143-144.

Kawakami, K.; Higuchi, H. 2002. The first record of cavity nesting in the Ogasawara Islands Honeyeater Apalopteron familiare on Hahajima, Bonin Islands, Japan. Ornithological Science 1(2): 153-154.

Kawakami, K.; Higuchi, H. 2003. Interspecific interactions between the native and introduced White-eyes in the Bonin Islands. Ibis 145: 583-592.

Suzuki, T.; Morioka, H. 2005. Distribution and extinction of the Ogasawara Islands Honeyeater Apalopteron familiare on Chichijima, Ogasawara Islands. Journal of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology 37: 45-49.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N., Taylor, J. & Allinson, T

Kawakami, K. & Suzuki, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Apalopteron familiare. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Bonin white-eye (Apalopteron familiare)

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Zosteropidae (White-eyes)
Species name author (Kittlitz, 1831)
Population size 15600 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 24 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species