The 'Apapane is a widespread nectarivorous honeycreeper. Adults are bright crimson with dark wings and tail and prominent white undertail coverts. The head is usually brighter than the rest of the plumage. Their brush-tipped tongues may protrude, making their bill tips look white. Juveniles are yellow-brown with white undertail coverts. The Laysan subspecies was more orange, with dingy undertail feathers.
Habitat & Behavior
'Apapane are found around flowering trees, particularly ʻōhiʻa lehua. They often perch conspicuously on the outer clusters of flowers to feed on nectar. The tail is characteristically cocked up. Small flocks of 'Apapane frequently fly high over forested ridges.
'Apapane have incredibly varied calls and songs, including squeaks, whistles, rasping notes, clicking sounds, and melodic trills. Some songs are pleasant and rather canary-like; others are harsh and mechanical sounding.
Distribution and Conservation
'Apapane are the most abundant native forest bird in the Hawaiian Islands. They are found on all main islands in mountain forests above 600 m and rarely in the lowlands. They are numerically abundant on Kaua'i, Maui, and Hawai'i; locally common on O'ahu, scarce on Moloka'i, and rare on Lana'i. The Laysan form was last seen in 1923.
Learn about their cultural significance here.