Sunday, September 21, 2014

Creature Feature #337: I'iwi

The beautiful little red I'iwi is another of Hawaii's unique honeycreepers. He is one of the most plentiful of this Family, but numbers are in decline. Vulnerable to bird malaria, I'iwi survive mainly at higher levels, where it is too cold for mosquitoes. They are able to migrate between the islands, but have become extirpated on Lānaʻi. With his long, slender bill he probes into flowers and laps up nectar. The curve allowed him to fed predominantly on the Hawaiian lobelioid, but as populations of this flower have decreased, he now feeds on the blossoms of ʻōhiʻa lehua trees. It is when these flowers are in bloom that breeding begins. Nests are cup-shaped and lined with tree fibers, petals and feathers. 

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