Akikiki

Oreomystis bairdi TAXONOMY

Oreomystis bairdi Stejneger, 1887. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Kauai creeper; French: Grimpeur de Kauai; German: Akikiki; Spanish: Akikiki.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

4-4.7 in (10-12 cm); 0.4-0.6 oz (11-17 g). Mostly medium gray with a white belly; short, pink bill; legs and feet are stout and strong.

DISTRIBUTION

Kauai.

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Loxops coccineus

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Oreomystis bairdi

Resident

HABITAT

Montane mesic and rainforest above 1,968 ft (600 m). BEHAVIOR

Lively and active, yet elusive and quiet, moves with a distinctive creeping motion over tree bark while foraging (thus the name "creeper"), reminiscent of nuthatches (family Sittidae); can climb along trunks and branches in any direction. Its unassuming call is the source of its name.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds mainly on insects and their larvae, spiders, millipedes, and slugs; nectar and fruit only rarely. Tongue is short, non-tubular, and forked, efficient at snagging and seizing insects from tight niches, unlike the brush-tipped nectar-lapping tongues common among honeycreepers. Birds forage singly, in pairs, or in family groups of up to four individuals. May also form flocks of up to 12 individuals of same species or in mixed flocks with anianiau and akeke'e.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Male and female build cup nest of bark and plant fiber for clutch of two eggs. Previous year's fledglings often help in raising their parents' next brood.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Abundant, but confined to limited area in central Kauai. Listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN, and of special concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous, nesting from November to early June. Females lay two eggs, parents fledge one or both chicks. Females do incubation and brooding, males feed females and chicks.

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