Manu Minute: The Disappearing 'Akeke'e

Jan 6, 2021

'Akeke'e are greenish-yellow in color with a black mask. The males are brighter in color than the females, and both are quite small in size.
Credit Ann Tanimoto-Johnson, taken at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, San Diego Zoo Global

The 'akeke'e is a critically endangered native bird that is endemic to Kaua'i. Like many other honeycreepers, they can only be found in high elevation forests, where cool temperatures ward off mosquito populations.

A female 'akeke'e at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, San Diego Zoo Global
Credit Ann Tanimoto-Johnson

'Akeke'e were once thought to be a subspecies of the native 'ākepa and are still sometimes referred to as Kauaˊi ˊākepa. Both birds have a slightly offset crossbill, which helps them to pry open 'ōhi'a leaves and flower buds in search of arthropods.

As the number of 'akeke'e in the wild continue to decline, these rare birds are singing less and less.

To listen or read more about the birds of Hawai'i, check out our Manu Minute page.