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Manu Minute: 'Akikiki of Kaua'i

'Akikiki, also known as Kaua'i creepers, are an endangered forest bird endemic to the island of Kaua'i.

Similar to nuthatches, these little birds forage for insects and spiders along the trunks of trees. They favor ʻōhiʻa and will climb and hang upside down in order to get at a particularly juicy bug.

As temperatures continue to warm, disease-carrying mosquitoes are invading the last high elevation strongholds for 'akikiki in the Alaka'i plateau of Kaua'i.

Fewer than 500 'akikiki remain. The Kaua'i Forest Bird Recovery Project, along with the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center (KBCC) and Maui Bird Conservation Center (MBCC), are working together to create a breeding population in captivity.

But it may take landscape scale eradication of mosquitoes to reverse the decline of the 'akikiki population.

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 talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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