|Rainforests and woodlands
|Country of Origin:
|Islands of Hawaii
This amakihis are small birds having an olive green color and black lores with short and decurved bills. In the 19th century, they were first found at the sea level to the native forests of the Hawaiian islands, not including Ni‘ihau and Kaho‘olawe. Now, they are at Hawai ‘i, Maui, and Kaua‘i, also known as O‘ahu.
Meanwhile, O‘ahu ‘Amakihi is poorly known, and few studies have been done. It is locally and widely spread on the Hawaiian Islands. This bird is endemic to O’ahu Island. It is adaptable to the use of its habitat. They inhabit various forests, having introduced and native plants. the population is maintained at lower elevations. This species has a resistance to avian malaria making it survive lower elevations from mosquito-related diseases.
Here are the good-to-know facts about Oahu Amakihi:
- They thrive in mesic and xeric forests with elevations of 100 meters. The highest densities are above 1500 meters in drier woodlands and in the Hawaii forests. However, amakihi had so much limited distribution on the islands of Hawaii and was extinct in the 20th century.
- The surviving species of amakihi is just one of the least specialized and the most adaptable among the native forest birds in Hawaii. All the species are omnivorous and non-migratory.
- They are fed on insects, juices, and fruit pulp as well as sap. They forage in pairs or alone or even in mixed flocks. They got tubular tongues having fringed tips. Amakihi is an exception for it has decurved bills intended for nectar-
- The Kaua‘i ‘Amakihi, another species, is the largest of all. It is similar to other amakihi, but the bill is heavier and larger, and its tail is shorter. It is fed on insects and nectars too.
This bird is the species of the Hawaiian honeycreeper that belongs to the Fringillidae family.
Here are the characteristics of Oahu Amakihi:
- The male’s lower body part is yellow, having a sharp contrast of green in the upper part.
- The throat of male Oahu Amakihi is yellow, as well as the breast and belly.
- The lores are black and legs, bills and feet are gray
- The females have a duller color in gray-green on the upper part and yellow-white on the lower part and 2 prominent wing bars. They are smaller than the males. They have a decurved bill. Their total length is 4.5 inches or 11 centimeters.
Range and Habitat
They are endemic to the Oahu island in Hawaii. They are in high and wet forest elevations as well as in the dry habitats. They inhabit the native and lower forest elevations having native and introduced species of plants. They occur in populations between 50 to 300 meters of elevation. Most of them are above 200 meters.
Breeding and Nesting
Oahu Amakihi birds pair off in breeding season that starts from the middle of December to march. Their nest is 2-4 inches only. They nest in the urban areas where there are enough trees that grow.
They lay 2-3 white eggs having red to brown marking and laid in a nest which is cup-shaped. It is built with rootlets, twigs, bark, leaves, mosses, and barks. The mother bird incubates her eggs for fourteen days. Her chicks are covered in brown feathers. They fledge after 18 days.
Foraging and Feeding
Oahu Amakihi birds fed on fruits, insects, nectars, and some arthropods. They also forage on leaves and flowers of various trees and insects like caterpillars and grubs. They creep on branches and trunks less often. They forge into glean insects, leaf clusters, and axils. They are seen searching insects on folds of dead leaves.
Oahu Amakihi birds sing a variable flat trill, which sounds like “chee” when repeated quickly. Their call is the-et plus a squeaky chip.
This bird has a bill shape that enables it to scrape off bark pieces and reach insects. This is its protein diet. it drinks nectar from trees and flowers.
These are threatened by the loss of their habitat, avian malaria, and predators. Some have developed avian malaria resistance. This could be the reason for their population expansion. They are less threatened and stable than the other species. The main concern for this species is fire. Military pieces of training lead to wildfires.
They have benefited from the management activities to conserve endangered birds.
Here are some of the management activities:
- Rat control
- Habitat monitoring,
- Forest restoration
- Public education and outreach
- Continued management
- Protection of refugees
- Protection of wildlife sanctuaries
There are initiated surveys and monitoring of the habitat of Oahu Amakihi birds to assess efficient habitat management efforts.
There are research priorities for Oahu Amakihi birds, and these include the following:
- Developing a more improved method to control rats and feral cats,
- Determining the requirements of the Culex mosquitoes found at the middle and high elevation forests.
- Coming up with methods to control the population of mosquitoes.
Here are the research priorities specifics:
- Studies on life history
- Dispersal patterns
- Nesting phenology and success
Interesting Facts About Oahu Amakihi Birds
Oahu Amakihi birds are interesting because of their unique qualities.
Here are some good-to-know facts about this species of birds:
- The hive of honeycreepers is the phrase used to describe a group of honeycreepers.
- Although this species is widespread in Hawaii, there are very few studies done, and their habits are not known much.
- These bird’s Hawaiian name Amakihi is taken from the kihi or kihikihi, which means curved.
- Oahu Amakihi birds were considered before as subspecies to Common Amakihi but are found out to be endemic to Oahu. Thus making it a full species now.
Like any other birds, Oahu Amakihi birds also experience getting sick. There are two common diseases for this species, namely avian malaria and avian pox virus.
- This is also known as bird malaria. It is an infectious disease that caused the devastation of the native birds in Hawaii. It is much like human malaria, which is caused by a single-celled protozoan from the genus Plasmodium. It is transferred by the bite of an infected mosquito. Several mosquitoes like Aedes and culex are the main mosquitoes to transmit the disease.
- This disease starts from the immature parasite carried by the female mosquitoes. After a bite, the sporozoites enter the bloodstream or goes deep into the skin. It invades fibroblasts and macrophages. In 36-48 hours, the merozoites are released going to the brain, kidney, liver, lungs, and spleen. Then, the parasites reproduce, producing an enormous number of them. Their increase causes infection showing symptoms of anemia, weakness, loss of appetite, depression, coma, and in the worst case, even death. The mortality rate is from 50 to 90%. Some birds show no symptoms and survive but having acute stages. They survive but deteriorate after some time.
- Avian malaria is also common among birds in captivity because they have no exposure to plasmodium and could be under stress. This disease has increased in Europe and Africa. Management strategies include the removal of stationary water catchments that attract mosquito breeding.
Avian Pox Virus
- This is a viral disease caused by a parasite through mosquitoes. Infected birds, contaminated water, food, and surfaces are also the reason for the spread. The symptoms are swollen and tumor-like lesions on the feet, legs, bill’s base, and eyes. There will also be lesions on the lungs, trachea, mouth, and esophagus. This leads to difficulty in eating and finding food as well as flying. Some even lose their limbs.
Here are some tips for assessing if your bird is sick:
1. Monitor your bird’s weight. Do it regularly once a month. A decrease of over 10 percent of their body weight when they aren’t on a diet is a sign. Then, take it to the vet.
2. Check for problems in the respiratory. Bobbing tail while breathing or keeping their mouth open after their activity could mean a problem in the respiratory. In addition, they breathe rapidly.
3. Redness or discharge from the ears or eyes indicates something.
4. An overgrown beak means a nutritional problem. Signs are swollen and reddened mouth and discharge from the mouth.
5. Observe their feathers. They should be colorful and bright, not tattered or torn. There shouldn’t be bald areas.
6. Notice for any problems in their vent region. Matted feathers or fecal matters are signs of diarrhea.
7. Check your bird’s droppings. Black or liquid feces or no feces at all point to problems indigestion.
Availability: Where to Get One?
Oahu Amakihi birds can be bought from your nearest local pet stores or go online for some reputable breeders selling this bird.
How to Care
In taking care of your Oahu Amakihi, these are the things you need to consider. Here are as follows:
To meet the psychological needs, one way to do it is locating their cage in the home near family activity. If you let them fly at home, be aware of the large windows, ceiling fans, hot pans, sticky strips, and open doors.
Toys encourage mental and physical exercises. Choose a safe toy, especially the chewable ones. Some like to tear papers and more. these are occupational therapy.
The cage must be sturdy and durable to resist the bending and dismantling. It should be non-toxic and safe. It should be wide enough for flying, and the height should be considered too.
Perches should be free from pesticides and clean. They are your pet’s entertainment. Replace them often for it not to be damaged, worn, or soiled. Put the perches on the opposite sides for flying or hopping.
- Food and Water Bowls
There should be 2 dishes or bowls. Put the food and water on different sides to ensure your bird exercises as it eats or drinks.
Clean the cage and the bowls as often as possible. Remove leftovers and replace the water too.
- Cage liners
Use paper towels or newspapers. Don’t let your pet go near the substrate as substrates could grow fungus and bacteria.
A proper diet is vital to all birds. Commercially bought diets are the easiest way.
Your pet needs privacy like putting a paper box, nest box, or towels. You can include barriers, artificial plants, furniture, and others.
Birds can tolerate temperature comfortable for them. A sudden change in temperature can lead to a sick bird.
- Light and Fresh Air
Birds need fresh and direct sunlight too. Put the cage near the window.
Trimming of the nails and wing can be grooming routine. Do the wing clip carefully. It is done to prevent the bird from escaping. Give a dish or bowl for showering or misting. Misting daily is for grooming too. Use plain water in doing so.
Oahu Amakihi Birds and Bathing
Some birds, such as Oahu Amakihi, love bathing. That’s why you have to provide dishes for their bathing. Water should be room temperature to improve the condition of their feathers. Using warm water strips the essential oils from your bird’s feather.
Bathing takes the itch and uneasiness from the new feathers breaking through their skin. Keeping their feathers and skin hydrated is helpful. Giving a daily bath is necessary.
Benefits of Bathing
- They keep the bird’s plumage in good condition.
- Bathing makes the dirt on the skin and feather-soft. Regular bathing makes their feathers waterproof.
- Bathing makes the dander down. Pollutants are gathered in the skin on their feathers or droppings. With bathing, these are somehow lessened or removed, preventing toxins from being ingested.
- Bathing with room temperature makes their skin moisturized.
- Frequent bathing benefits the bird’s respiratory system.
- Bathing regulates the level of humidity in their nesting box.
1. Misting. On warm days, mist your parrot using a spray bottle. Try to mist above his head, making feel like a rain shower. If outside, use a hose.
2. Taking a Shower. They love taking showers. There are avian showers sold. Let your bird see you shower before trying it to your pet. Let it decide. Get a shower filter since water tends to have chemicals like chlorine. Clean water preserves the bird’s skin moisture.
3. Planter Saucer. This works so well for your birds. They may use this for drinking at first. They feel like jumping into it.
4. Sink. Birds love running water’s sound. Clean the area and make the faucet drip. The water should be warm.
5. Spraying. Don’t force your parrot. Let it come near the water by itself.
6. Drying your Bird. Never blow dry your parrot. Non-stick coatings in the dryer are deadly to birds. Use a bird lamp instead. Don’t let your birds chill. You can put the cage near the window for natural drying.
7. The Reluctant Bather. For birds who aren’t into bathing, use running water or put a dish having some water.
What does Amakihi eat?
They eat various foods like nectar from flowers, juices from fruits, sap, and insects too.
How is avian malaria treated?
It is treated with 250 milligrams of chloroquine and 120 ml of drinking water for 1 to 2 weeks. Mosquito vectors controlling should be done.
How many Hawaiian honeycreepers are left?
There are 56 species, but 18 species are extinct.
Why are Honeycreepers endangered?
They are endangered due to parasitism, predation, competition, loss of habitat, and malaria.
What happened to the honeycreeper?
Due to the warm climate, avian malaria caused death to the honeycreepers leading to lower populations.
Where does the Hawaiian honeycreeper live?
They inhabit the forests having wet and dry climates. Some live on small islands too.
Are honeycreepers endangered?
These days, they have a high extinction rate in the world. There are 41 species and subspecies. 17 are extinct, while 14 are endangered.
What plants do Honeycreepers pollinate?
They pollinate shrimp plants, bee balm, verbenas, honeysuckles, fuchsias, bromeliads, and hibiscus.