Unsorted Wild Birds

Hawaiian Honeycreepers

Hawaiian honeycreepers (Drepanididae) are endemic to Hawaii.

The family is divided into three tribes

  • Psittirostrini (Hawaiian finches), seedeaters with thick finch-like bills and songs like those of cardueline finches.
  • Hemignathini (Hawaiian creepers and allies, including nukupu’us). These are generally green-plumaged birds with thin bills which feed on nectar and insects
  • Drepanidini (Mamos, ‘I‘iwi and allies). These are birds often with red plumage. They are nectar-feeders and their songs contain nasal squeaks and whistles.

Some unusual forms extinct in earlier times, like Xestospiza or Vangulifer, cannot easily be placed into these tribes.

Scarlet Honeycreeper

Hawaiian Honeycreepers

The male Hawaiian Honeycreepers are often more brightly colored than the females, but in the Hemignathini, they often look very similar. The flowers of the native plant Metrosideros polymorpha (‘ohi‘a lehua) are favored by a number of nectar-eating honeycreepers.

The wide range of bills in this group, from thick finch-like bills to slender downcurved bills for probing flowers have arisen through adaptive radiation, where an ancestral finch has evolved to fill a large number of ecological niches.

Some 15 forms of Hawaiian Honeycreeper have become extinct in the recent past, many more since the arrival of the Polynesians who introduced the first rats.

The recent extinctions are due to the introduction of other rodent species and the mongoose, habitat destruction and avian malaria and fowlpox.

Maui Parrotbill


  • Family: Drepanididae (or: Drepaniidae)
    • Genus: Telespiza – finch-like, granivores, opportunistic scavengers
      • Nihoa Finch, Telespiza ultima
      • Laysan Finch, Telespiza cantans
      • Kaua‘i Finch, Telespiza persecutrix pre
      • Maui Nui Finch, Telespiza ypsilon preGenus: Psittirostra – slightly hooked bill, ‘Ie‘ie fruit specialist
      • ‘O‘u, Psittirostra psittacea Conservation status: Critical, probably extinct late 1990sGenus: Dysmorodrepanis – pincer-like bill, possibly snail specialist
      • Lana‘i Hookbill, Dysmorodrepanis munroi Extinct (1918)
Palila, Loxioides bailleui - April 8, 2012, Hawaii, US
    • Genus: Loxioides – finch-like, Mamane seed specialist (L. bailleui)
      • Palila, Loxioides bailleui
      • Kauai Palila, Loxioides kikuichi pre
    • Genus: Rhodacanthis – finch-like, Koa seed specialists
      • Lesser Koa Finch, Rhodacanthis flaviceps Extinct (1891)
      • Greater Koa Finch, Rhodacanthis palmeri Extinct (1896)
      • Scissor-billed Koa Finch, Rhodacanthis forfex pre
      • Primitive Koa Finch, Rhodacanthis litotes pre
    • Genus: Chloridops – thick-billed, Naio and other hard seed specialist
      • Kona Grosbeak Finch, Chloridops kona Extinct (1894)
      • O‘ahu Grosbeak Finch, Chloridops wahi pre
      • Giant (“King Kong”) Grosbeak Finch, Chloridops regiskongi pre
    • Genus: Orthiospiza – large weak bill, possibly soft seed or fruit specialist?
      • Highland Finch, Orthiospiza howarthi pre
    • Genus: Xestospiza – cone-shaped bills, possibly insectivores
      • Cone-billed Finch, Xestospiza conica pre
      • Ridge-billed Finch, Xestospiza fastigialis pre
    • Genus: Peseudonestor – parrot-like bill, probes rotting wood for insect larvae
      • Maui Parrotbill, Pseudonestor xanthophrys
    • Genus: Hemignathus – pointed or long and decurved bills, insectivores or nectarivores
      • Hawai‘i ‘Amakihi, Hemignathus virens
      • O‘ahu ‘Amakihi, Hemignathus flavus
      • Kaua‘i ‘Amakihi, Hemignathus kauaiensis
      • Nukupu‘u, Hemignathus lucidus
      • ‘Anianiau, Hemignathus parvus or Magumma parva
      • Greater ‘Amakihi, Hemignathus sagittirostris Extinct (1901)
      • Giant ‘Amakihi, Hemignathus vorpalis pre
      • Hawai‘i ‘Akialoa, Hemignathus obscurus or Akialoa obscura Extinct (1940)
      • Maui Nui ‘Akialoa, Hemignathus lanaiensis or Akialoa lanaiensis Extinct (1892)
      • O‘ahu ‘Akialoa, Hemignathus ellisianus or Akialoa ellisiana Extinct (1940)
      • Kaua‘i ‘Akialoa, Hemignathus stejnegeri or Akialoa stejnegeri Extinct (1969)
      • Hoopoe-billed ‘Akialoa, Hemignathus upupirostris or Akialoa upupirostris pre
      • ‘Akiapola‘au, Hemignathus munroi or Heterorhynchus wilsoni
    • Genus: Oreomystis – short pointed bills, browsers
      • ‘Akikiki, Oreomystis bairdi
      • Hawai‘i “Creeper”, Oreomystis mana
    • Genus: Paroreomyza – similar to Oreomystis
      • Maui ‘Alauahio, Paroreomyza montana (more properly called Maui Nui ‘Alauahio, but today occurs on Maui only)
      • Kakawahie, Paroreomyza flammea Extinct (1963)
      • O‘ahu ‘Alauahio, Paroreomyza maculata
    • Genus: Vangulifer – flat rounded bills, possibly caught flying insects
      • Strange-billed Finch, Vangulifer mirandus pre
      • Thin-billed Finch, Vangulifer neophasis pre
    • Genus: Aidemedia – straight thin bills, insectivores
      • O‘ahu Icterid-like Gaper, Aidemedia chascax pre
      • Sickle-billed Gaper, Aidemedia zanclops pre
      • Maui Nui Icterid-like Gaper, Aidemedia lutetiae pre
    • Genus: Loxops – small pointed bills with the tips offset a little horizontally, insectivores
      • ‘Akeke‘e, Loxops caeruleirostris
      • Akepa, Loxops coccineus
    • Genus: Ciridops – finch-like, fed on Loulu fruits etc.
      • ‘Ula-‘ai-Hawane, Ciridops anna Extinct (1892 or 1937)
      • Stout-legged Finch, Ciridops tenax pre
    • Genus: Vestiaria – decurved bill, nectarivore
    • Genus: Drepanis – decurved bills, nectarivores
      • Hawai‘i Mamo, Drepanis pacifica Extinct (1898)
      • Black Mamo, Drepanis funerea Extinct (1907)
    • Genus: Palmeria – thin bill, nectarivore
    • Genus: Himatione – thin bill, nectarivore
      • ‘Apapane, Himatione sanguinea
    • Genus: Melamprosops – short pointed bill, browser and snail specialist
      • Po‘o-uli, Melamprosops phaeosoma Conservation status: Critical, probably extinct November 28, 2004

Several other known species are undescribed, as they are known only from very fragmentary fossil remains insufficient to deterine taxonomic affiliation.

The term “prehistoric” above indicates birds that went extinct between first human settlement of Hawai‘i around 400 AD and European contact in 1778.

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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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