Manu Minute: ʻAlawi, the Hawaiʻi creeper
At first glance, it's easy to mistake an ʻalawi for an ʻamakihi. But these little birds have songs that are entirely their own. Found only on Hawaiʻi Island, these honeycreepers live in high elevation native ʻōhiʻa and koa forests.
They are also known as the Hawaiʻi creeper because they forage by “creeping” up and down branches and tree trunks, using their bills to fleck off bark in search of food.
And they're team players! ʻAlawi often share arboreal real estate with bright orange Hawaiʻi ʻākepa. Both insectivores, an ʻalawi will hunt for insects along the trunk, while an ʻākepa looks among the leaves.
But the true show of sportsmanship comes during fledgling season. A chick's noisy begging can make it an easy target for predators, namely the ʻio. But ʻalawi avoid danger through big honeycreeper family reunions.
Large mixed-species flocks of ʻalawi, ʻākepa, ʻamakihi, and ʻakiapōlāʻau will gather with their fledgings, adopting a strength-in-numbers approach in order to their young.
This crew of honeycreepers makes quite the sight as they slowly move among the trees, singing all the while.
Audio credit: LOHE Bioacustics Lab at UH Hilo and Xeno Canto XC147004- Brooks Rownd (Begging calls)