The 'Amakihi is a widespead nectarivorous honeycreeper - one of the most common native bird in Hawai'i. It resembles many other birds including the introduced Japanese White-eye and the Maui 'Alauahio. The white-eye has a more canvas green back and has a prominent white eye-ring, whereas the 'Alauahio tends to be more yellow and has a straight and smaller beak.
Male 'Amakihi are bright yellow-green birds with short down-curved bills. Interisland variation in males is slight but immatures and females vary considerably. On Maui, Moloka'i, and Lana'i they are dull grayish green with greenish wing bars. On Hawai'i, they are greener still, and wing bars are very indistinct. Females have a smaller bill than males.
Habitat & Behavior
'Amakihi feed in a variety of ways ranging from sipping nectar to picking over the bark of trees for insect prey. They often travel in small flocks and prefer drier and more open forest. Their call notes include a buzzy "tzeet", an upslurred "queet", and a thin "zeek". 'Amakihi song is a loud trill that maintains a fairly level pitch, swelling in intensity in the middle. They also have a complex, canary-like whisper song.
Distribution & Conservation
Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands with two subspecies on Maui and Hawai'i, 'Amakihi are probably the most adaptable of the native forest birds. They are abundant on Hawai'i and Maui, locally common on Moloka'i, and extirpated from Lana'i. They are found at lower elevations than most other honeycreepers, indicating tolerance or resistance for avian malaria. Read more about the Hawai'i 'Amakihi and avian malaria here.