Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Manu Minute: 'Apapane, The Flower Fan

Ann Tanimoto-Johnson

'Apapane are the most abundant Hawaiian honeycreeper. Scientists estimate that there are over a million individuals throughout the state — about one 'apapane per person in Hawai‘i.

Like the 'amakihi, 'apapane appear to be developing a genetic resistance to mosquito-borne avian malaria, which has helped them sustain their numbers. However, they are still vulnerable to habitat loss and predation.

Credit Ann Tanimoto-Johnson
A juvenile (left) and adult (right) ?apapane. ?Apapane are crimson red with black wings and tails, and they have a distinct white patch of feathers under their tails. They have slightly curved black bills, black legs, and black feet. Juvenile birds are yellow-brown in color with white feathers under their tail.

'Apapane can be found on all the main Hawaiian Islands. They are in much lower numbers on Lana'i, where they are the sole remaining honeycreeper.

Although 'apapane prefer cooler climates above 3,000 feet in elevation, they will venture to lower levels in native forests if 'ōhi'a lehua are in bloom. These ruby-red honeycreepers have brush-tipped tongues in order to sip nectar from native flowers.

Small flocks of 'apapane will fly together from tree to tree to feed, which helps them evade more territorial birds like the 'i'iwi.

'Apapane’s songs are composed of more than 400 different syllables, and they sing continually during the day, creating a wonderful chorus throughout the canopy.

Read about and hear other Hawaiian birds on our Manu Minute page.

Patrick Hart is the host of HPR's Manu Minute. He runs the Listening Observatory for Hawaiian Ecosystems (LOHE) Lab at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson is the Lab Manager & Research Technician in the Hart Lab/Listening Observatory for Hawaiian Ecosystems (LOHE) Bioacoustics Lab. She researches the ecology, bioacoustics, and conservation of our native Hawaiian forests, birds, and bats.
Savannah Harriman-Pote is a producer for The Conversation and Manu Minute. Contact her at
More Episodes