Akohekohe

Palmeria dolei

TAXONOMY

Palmeria dolei S. B. Wilson, 1891. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Crested honeycreeper; French: Palmérie huppée; German: Schopfkleidervogel; Spanish: Akojekoje.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

7 in (18 cm); 1 oz (29 g); largest living honeycreeper. Sexes are monochromatic. Unique appearance of black plumage splashed and streaked with brilliant orange-scarlet and silver. Prominent, bushy, whitish crest curves forward over the bill. Crest is often dusted with ohia pollen, thus may serve as a pollinating organ, as well as a display feature.

DISTRIBUTION

Eastern Maui.

HABITAT

Montane mesic and rainforest from 3,800-6,500 ft (1,158-1,981 m) above sea level.

BEHAVIOR

Boisterous and aggressive, with a wide range of rough, throaty calls; native name is derived from one such call. Strong flyer, chases off other species and conspecifics from preferred feeding and nesting sites, even attacking with bill and wings.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds mainly on ohia blossom nectar, but supplements the liquid diet with caterpillars, flies, and spiders.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Listed as Endangered federally and by state, and as Vulnerable by the IUCN. However, the population is stable at 3,800, and the adult survival rate is 95%.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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