Unsorted Wild Birds

‘Akohekohe

The ‘Akohekohe (Palmeria dolei) is a finch that is part of the Hawaiian honeycreeper subfamily, Drepanididae.

Hawaiian Honeycreepers

Distribution / Range

It is endemic to the island of Maui in Hawaii. Its natural habitat is wet forests dominated by koa (Acacia koa) and ‘ohi’a lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) on the windward side of Haleakala; at elevations of 4,200 to 7,100 feet (1,300 to 2,200 m).

Description

It is the largest honeycreeper on the island at 6.5 to 7 inches (17 to 18 cm) in length.

The adults are a glossy black with whitish feathers and stripes going down its side. The underparts are whitish black while the top has orange feathers sticking from the wings. The feathers behind the eyes are a reddish color, and have a stream of cream-colored feathers coming from the eyes.

It has a flashy whitish gold-colored feather crest on its head.

Immature birds have a brownish-black plumage and lack the orangish feathers of the adults. The legs and bills are a blackish color.

Calls / Vocalizations

Its calls are described as a pair of “whee-o, whee-o”, repeated over and over again; another song is a descending thrill which is done about five seconds apart; or a low chuckling sound, “tjook, tjook, chouroup”; or a rarer song, “hur-hur-hur-gluk-gluk-gluk”.

Diet

The ‘akohekohe is a nectarivore that feeds on the flowers of ‘ohi’a lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) high up in the canopy.

It is an aggressive bird and will drive away competing nectarivores, such as the related ‘apapane and ‘i’iwi. When ‘ohi’a lehua blossoms are limited, it will eat insects, fruit, and nectar from other plants.

The ‘akohekohe will forage in the understory if necessary, where food plants include ‘akala (Rubus hawaiensis).


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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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