'I'iwiPhotos, Pictures, Prints

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Scarlet honeycreeper

The ‘i’iwi, or scarlet honeycreeper is a “hummingbird-niched” species of Hawaiian honeycreeper. Brightly colored, it is a highly recognizable symbol of Hawaii. That’s because it’s the third most common native land bird on the islands.

Large colonies of ‘i’iwi inhabit the Big Island, Maui, and Kauai, with smaller colonies on Molokai and Oahu. Sadly, this bird is no longer present on Lanai. Altogether, the remaining populations total 350,000 individuals. However, these are decreasing.

The adult bird is mostly fiery red, with black wings and tail and a long, curved salmon-colored bill used primarily for drinking nectar. The main threat to the this and other native Hawaiian birds is the spread of introduced diseases, particularly avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum). Thus, this bird survives at higher elevations where temperatures are too cool for mosquitoes.

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