The ʻAkiapolaʻau Honey Creeper

Hemignathus wilsoni

A day in the life of

Hello my name is Hemignathus munroi, but for short (not really) you can call me akiapōlāʻau, pronounced ah-kee-ah-POH-LAH-OW; remember that. I wake up to a chilly morning in the mountains of Mauna Kea I ruffle my downy feather to shake the chill. I open my beak for a quick yawn. My beak is oddly shaped because I dig grubs out of tree bark and crush them with my lower stubby jaw, but I also drink nectar from the never ending population of flowers. The pros call me a specialist species. A glance over to my single beatiful egg that will hatch any time. I swoop down the canopy searching for my meal, then I see it a beautiful koli'i, with its unmistakable red wispy flowers. As softly land on the most suitable branch I quickly sip the nectar, so no others can steal it. Then I smell the most faint odor of poo, and fur. Then I quickly glance up to my branch, and I see it; a monster of sorts scurring up my branch to my nest. A let out a trill chirp in terrified panic. I swoop up to my nest seeing that my eggs are safe, but the rat is closing in I let out a defensive call. I hover over the best and peck at its face and scratch at its eyes. With the last bit of energey left in me I stab the rats left eye. With a squeal the rat fell of my branch never to be seen again. I collapse on the branch exhausted from battle. With the faintest glance before I pass out I see my egg in perfect condition. Safe

About me

The ʻakiapōlāʻau, pronounced ah-kee-ah-POH-LAH-OW, is a species of Hawaiian honeycreeper, that is endemic to the island of Hawaii. This bird prefers the dry mountain forest. The bird is around 5.5 inches and has a odd shaped beak.The ʻakiapolaʻau is a pudgy bird which has a whitish bottom and tail, black legs, yellow chest, orangish head, black face mask and bill and gray black wings. This birds conservation status is endangered. The population is being killed off by rats that eat the eggs, and diseased ridden mosquitoes limit have limited its elevation of 4,300 to 6,900 feet. Before it lived on Mauna Kea in elevations 6,200 to 9,500 ft, but they died out in 2002,but the remaining population lives on lower levels only on the Big island. This bird eats bugs on tree branches and uses its weird bill to sip nectar from the mountain flowers. This bird eats grubs from tree bark, and and uses its thick lower bill to crush its prey.

The akiapola’au breeds only once a year and lays one egg. This bird is a slow reproducer.The largest population contains about 1,097 birds, deforestation, invasive species, and slow reproduction time cause the little birds population to dwindle.