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image: Amakihi.jpg

Common Name: Common ‘Amakihi

Scientific Name: Hemignathus virens

Size: 4 inches (10cm)

Habitat: Oceania; Hawaiian Islands. One of the most common native birds, found on all main islands, except Lana`i where it is now likely extinct. Inhabits a variety of native habitats from sea level to the shrub lands of the islands' highest volcanoes (around 8000 feet), and is occasionally seen among introduced vegetation.

Status: Not threatened. Global Population: unknown. Of all the native forest birds, `Amakihi may be least affected by changes in habitat that have resulted from human activities. Amakihi are one of the very few native birds that may be evolving resistance to introduced diseases such as avian malaria and avian poxvirus. `Amakihi are seen with increasing frequency in suburban areas of O`ahu, including Aina Haina, Manoa, and Nuuanu.

Diet: `Amakihi have a very wide diet. They possess a tubular tongue that is characteristic of nectar-feeding species, and use it to obtain nectar from a variety of native flowers such as `ohi`a-lehua, akala (Hawaiian raspberry), and mamane, as well as many introduced species. Amakihi also hunt a variety of insect and spider species which they glean from the foliage and bark of trees and shrubs, and are known to occasionally suck the juices from a variety of fruits.

Breeding: Males are green above, with tail and wings a darker green, and fairly bright yellow below. The female is duller, without the yellow breast. The bills are dark and slightly curved, lores are usually distinctive and black. The juvenile birds have the same coloring as females. There are four subspecies, with slight color variations. The breeding seasons vary depending on the island. Both male and female take part in building the nest, which is made of fine grasses and lichens. The clutch varies from two to four eggs. Incubation period is 14 days, nestling period is 17-20 days.

Cool Facts: `Amakihi are members of the endemic subfamily of Hawaiian honeycreepers (Drepanidinae), which are among the world's most famous and spectacular examples of adaptive radiation evolution of a variety of species from a single common ancestor. `Amakihi are often confused with Japanese white-eyes (or mejiro), but can be distinguished by their black lores and distinctive song and calls.

Found in Songbird ReMix Hawai'i

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