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The Iiwi(Hawaiian HoneyCreeper)

Updated on May 11, 2014

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.

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!

Ohià lehua
Ohià lehua

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.


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    • profile image

      Chandra samuel 3 years ago

      Thank you for the beauties...i love BIRDS

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 5 years ago

      Thankyou very much!!!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Wow such a beauty!!! Great HUB!

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 5 years ago

      Steve, thankyou so much for your comment.And I am glad you found it interesting. I think its a beautiful little bird.

    • STEVEW13 profile image

      Steve Wright 5 years ago from Norwich, England

      What an amazing looking bird, I had no idea this even existed, thank you so much for such an interesting and informative hub :)

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 6 years ago

      Thankyou again sallieann, to be honest I am tending to look for the more unusual of the endangered species, its so interesting to research and write about them.

    • sallieannluvslife profile image

      sallieannluvslife 6 years ago from Eastern Shore

      What a beautiful and unique little bird!! Thanks for educating us about them!

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 6 years ago

      Thankyou for your votes and for commenting. I hope we dont lose them either, and at least there are people who are trying to help them and bring attention to their plight.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Voted awesome and interesting. I hope we don't lose this lovely bird to disease and lack of food. It is too important that we retain our birds and animals.

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 6 years ago

      Thankyou Gloshei for your lovely comment, and for adding it to your favourites.

    • Gloshei profile image

      Gloria 6 years ago from France

      Clairemy this is a lovely hub and thankyou for sharing it.

      I love birds well all creatures really, what magnificent colours so vibrant. Added to my favourites.

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 6 years ago

      Thankyou, thankyou, I am so glad you enjoyed it. Always so enjoyable to to such hubs.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Oh clairmy what a wonderfully interesting and beautiful hub; I am saving in with my bookmarks here;a definite favourite.

      Take care