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'Akohekohe

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image: akohekohe.jpg

Hawaiian Name: 'Akohekohe
Common Name: Crested Honeycreeper
Scientific Name: Palmeria dolei

Size: 7 inches (18cm)

Habitat: Oceania; the Hawaiian Islands. Northeastern slope of Haleakala Volcano on the island of Maui. The species formerly occurred on the neighboring island of Moloka'i, but that population is now extinct. Almost the entire population is found between 1,500 and 2,300 meters of elevation, in forest permanently enshrouded in clouds and mist. Average rainfall is 235 to 275 inches per year.

Status: Endangered. Global Population: 3,800 Mature individuals after a big decline, the ‘Ahohekohe populations appear to have stabilized. At this point in time, the major threats appear to be the negative effects of introduced animals (especially feral pigs) and plants. Feral pigs wreak havoc on the soil and vegetation in native forests, destroying native understory and subcanopy plants and creating wallows that can act as breeding sites for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Rainforest areas that have been affected by pigs can recover if the pigs are removed, but these areas have higher concentrations of non-native plants. Although 'Akohekohes feed primarily in the canopy on 'ohi'a trees, they also feed on flowering understory shrubs. The destructive activities of pigs, together with the encroachment of non-native plants into formerly pristine forest, may cause 'Akohekohes to search for food at lower elevations, where infectious mosquitoes and avian diseases are common.

Diet: Nectar from the 'Ohi'a tree makes up 40-75% of these birds' diets. They also feed on the nectar of other plants, caterpillars, flies, spiders, and other invertebrates.

Breeding: Breeding appears to begin in February-March. No nests have been described, although immature birds have been observed with adults in May-August.

Cool Facts: The Hawaiian name for this species, pronounced "ah ko-hay ko-hay," comes from a commonly heard call that it makes.

The ‘Akohekohe is very aggressive and will chase off Apapane and I’Iwi for possession of 'ohi'a blossoms.

The Hawaiian name of the bird refers to the short crest feathers which were deemed reminiscent of pubic hair. 


Found in Songbird ReMix Cool & Unusual Birds 2 and Songbird ReMix Hawai'i

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