Crested Honeycreeper; Palmeria dolei
The rare (critically endangered) and ornate ʻAkohekohe, or Crested Honeycreeper, is closely related to the much more common ‘Apapane. It is one of the largest honeycreepers, measuring over 7 inches, and also one of the most distinctive. ʻAkohekohe are uniformly dark with silver flecks on face and upper breast, white-tipped tails and wingtips, and have bright orange napes and eye patches. The white crest on their foreheads is the source of their English name. ʻAkohekohe fiercely defend nectar sources and are often seen chasing other birds out of ‘ōhi‘a trees. With their exceptionally long legs they typically run across the tree tops between blossoms and are seen doing very acrobatic twists and splits to reach flowers. Unlike its cousin the ‘Apapane, ʻAkohekohe only exist in pristine native forests above 5000 ft in elevation making them the most range-restricted species on Maui.