Apapane Honeycreeper

By: George the honeycreeper (Jaymes Christopher)

The Life of an Apapane (by: George the Honeycreeper)

Hello humans, my name is George and I am a honeycreeper that lives in Hawaii. Here is some information about me and my subspecies of honeycreeper.

I am an apapane; a subspecies of honeycreeper that feeds on honey and small insects. My special beak allows for me to eat small insects and birds because of it's unique shape. My beak is long, so that I may feed on honey from the flowers of the forest. My beak is also not so long that I won't be able to catch small insects. This result is the product of many years of evolution.

My species of honeycreeper usually live in wet forests above one thousand two hundred and fifty meters. This is a good place for me to live because of the pleasant temperature and it is easier for me to find food here. There are also many trees for me to live in and other honeycreepers of my kind.

We used to be able to live at lower elevations, but the forests have long since been cleared from our old home. Since human contact, we have lost 42% of our habitat since human contact. However, the apapane are still the most abundant species of honeycreeper in Hawaii.

Our population grows and deteriorates with the flowering of the ohia flower. At the time of the flowering, our population may exceed three thousand birds per square kilometer. The peak of breeding is between february and june, but us apapane can still breed at any time of the year.

Apapane are mostly red birds with black wings and tails. Our beaks are semi-long and are black in color. The main reason for the red coloring is to attract a mate. When our species tries to attract a mate, we dance on a branch while chirping our love song. To a human being, it may just sound like normal chirping, but to us it is definitely way different.

Honeycreepers Ancestry

Honeycreepers are very closely related to rosefinches. This leads scientists to believe that honeycreepers evolved from when rosefinches were blown off course or flew to the hawaiian islands. Rosefinches live throughout Eurasia, which means that these birds traveled across a long distance and evolved eventually into honeycreepers that live in Hawaii.

When the rosefinches arrived in Hawaii, they probably lived in higher elevations because they were used to colder weather. As competition began in the higher elevations, some of the birds were forced to move down to the lower elevations and evolved to suit their new environment. This is what is known as adaptive radiation. Eventually the lower elevation and the higher elevation birds will be too different to produce offspring. And they will be different species.

About the Author

George is a honeycreeper that lives in the semi-low altitudes of the Hawaiian islands. This is his first written article because he is a bird that just learned how to write. He is fond of flying over the forest, dancing on the branches of trees, and afternoon tea.

Sources

Edgar, Megan. "10 Species to See in Hawaii before Climate Change Eliminates Them d Forever." Matador Network. Matador Network, 12 Nov. 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.


Zoo, Smithsonian National. "Hawaiian Honeycreepers." Flickr. Yahoo!, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.


GrrlScientist. "Hawaiian Honeycreepers and Their Tangled Evolutionary Tree | z @GrrlScientist." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 02 Nov. 2011. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.


United States Geological Survey. "Climate Change Threatens Endangered Honeycreeper Birds of Hawaii." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2009