When food is in good supply, nesting usually begins in the spring, often in the higher branches of good-sized māmane. Eggs generally hatch in about two and a half weeks. The juvies are characterized by a yellowish beak and white wing bars. Male and female adults have a dark bill and yellow head; in males the yellow extends to the nape, in females the nape has more of the greyish feathers of the upper back. Males also have darker lores - the area between the bill and the eyes.
The story of the decline of the palila is a complicated one, with many factors perhaps playing a role. Anything that affects their special māmane affects them, including drought, development of the land for agriculture, and grazing ungulates. In 1978, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals mandated the removal of feral sheep and goats from the critical habitat of the palila. With the numbers of grazers much reduced, the māmane forest has a chance to rebound. Yet overgrazing by these creatures has allowed the spread of alien grasses and shrubs, such as fountain grass and gorse, which increase the risk of fire in this dry habitat. Avian malaria, rats and feral cats, as well as predation by the pueo, have also contributed to the decline of palila. And if that isn't enough, parasitoid wasps affect the caterpillars they eat. But all is not lost! The Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project is working hard to educate the public and to restore and protect the critical habitat of the palila. Also fighting the good fight is the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, raising and releasing palila. Imagine how the world could be, so very fine...So happy together.