'Akiapola'au

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image: akiapolaau.jpg

Common Name: ‘Akiapola’au

Scientific Name: Hemignathus munroi

Size: 6 inches (14cm)

Habitat: Polynesia; The Big Island of Hawaii in old growth Koa forests.

Status: Endangered. Global Population: 1,200 mature individuals. Its declines started in 1900 with the development of Hawaii. It also suffers from the fate of many native Hawaiian birds; no resistance to avian malaria. Mosquitoes are an introduced insect to the Hawaiian Islands and now virtually none of the native Hawaiian birds live below the 1500' level (the mosquito line).

Preservation efforts have helped slow the rapid decline of this bird. In 1992, the population was estimated at 1500 and has since then dropped below 1200. The Hakalau National Forest Preserve was established to help protect this and other endangered Hawaiian birds.

Diet: Insects and beetle larvae.

Breeding: Older Koa trees are excavated for nesting cavity.

Cool Facts: The ‘Akiapola’au is found around the base of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. It lives in ancient Koa tree forests where it’s primary nesting areas and food sources are found. Older Koa trees are excavated for nesting cavity. Insects and beetle larvae are the main food source for the bird as creeps down tree limbs in the forest canopy. It has an unusual bill. The lower bill is shorter than the top— it’s a specialized beak than allows the bird to hammer and drill into the wood with the lower “woodpecker-like” bill and then spear insects with the top portion of the beak.

The ‘Akiapola’au was also known as Nukupu’u in early Hawaiian literature.


Found in Songbird ReMix Threatened Endangered Extinct and Songbird ReMix Hawai'i

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