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The Iiwi(Hawaiian HoneyCreeper)
The Iiwi(Hawaiian HoneyCreeper)(Vestiaria coccinea)
This small and handsome bird is the only member of the genus Vestiaria, and at the present time although its numbers are up at 350,000 it is still considered endangered. Its status is Vulnerable at (3.1), this is because its numbers are decreasing.
The Iiwi has brilliant red plumage when it becomes an adult with black wings and a black tail. It has a salmon red beak which has evolved so it can drink nectar and pass on pollen.
In the young birds the plumage is a golden colour with some spotting its beak is ivory. They are capable of hovering like a hummingbird and feed from the blossoms of "ohià lehua", a tree of the myrtle family, however their favoured plant and flower is the Hawaiian Lobelioid(Lobelia Trees) because they have decurved corolla, but when this particular plant began to decline in numbers and was also harder to access at high altitudes these little birds looked fro their nectar elsewhere. they are also known to eat anthropoids.
- Iiwi | WebEcoist
The Iiwi is a Hawaiian honeycreeper. Its raucous call and brilliant red plumage are becoming more and more seldom seen.
Migration and Breeding
These little birds are able to migrate between the Hawaiian islands and this probably what has kept their numbers from declining too quickly, especially on the smaller islands such as Moloka'i.
They breed from January to June and the female lays her eggs in a cup shaped nest. this is made from tree fibres, down feathers and petals. The eggs are bluish in colour , 2 or 3 in the clutch and they generally hatch after 14 days. The resulting chicks fledge within 24 days. When born they are yellowish-green and marked with brownish-orange, but this changes rapidly to their glorious adult plummage once they have fledged.
The Iiwi tends to look for its habitat above 4,000 ft above sea level and it has good reason!
This beautiful bird with its unusual call;- its song is quite peculiar. It is a couple of whistles, squeaking rather like a rusty hinge and like two balloons rubbing together, is losing its habitat and having to move higher up in altitude to escape disease and find food.
They are unfortunatley susceptible to fowl pox and influenza caused by avians, and as global warming has increased it has caused the mosquitoes who carry these diseases to exist at higher altitudes.