US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Field Ornithology (Autumn 1993) 64(4): 490-499.


Methods to sex and age Palila (Loxioides bailleui), an endangered Hawaiian finch restricted to subalpine woodlands on Hawai'i, were identified on the basis of measurements and plumage characteristics of 17 museum specimens and 96 known-age, live Palila. Palila undergo a single annual molt during September-December following the breeding season. Presence of a complete or partial wingbar distinguishes hatch-year and second-year Palila from after-second-year birds. Adult male Palila are distinguished from females by a distinct napeline and <30% gray feathers intermixed with yellow feathers on the head. The black or gray feathers of the lores and chin of males are darker than those on the back, whereas the lores and chin of females are lighter or of the same shade as back feathers.