The apapane is a widespread nectivorous 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 ohia-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 call 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 Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii; locally common on Oahu, scarce on Molokai, and rare on Lanai. The Laysan form was last seen in 1923.
Learn about their cultural significance here.