Iiwi

Vestiaria coccinea

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Fringilline & Cardueline Finches (Fringillidae)

Code 4

IIWI

Code 6

VESCOC

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Vulnerable

The Iiwi has a small range, confined only to small parts of the Hawaiian Islands. Native to North America, the Iiwi prefers Subtropical and Tropical Forest habitats. The population of the bird was last estimated at 350,000 individuals in the early 1990’s and is known to be decreasing due in large part to avian malaria transmitted by mosquitoes. The Iiwi, due to a recent decrease in population in many areas where the bird was only marginally populous, is now classified on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Iiwi: This small bird has vibrant red plumage overall with black wings and tail. The wings show a contrasting white patch on the inner secondaries. The salmon-colored bill is long and decurved. Undulating flight, alternates several rapid wing beats with wings pulled to sides. It feeds primarily on nectar but feeds on many insects and spiders as well. Males are slightly larger than females.

 

Range and Habitat

Iiwi: Large colonies exist on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai, common in wet forests at high elevations. There are fewer than 50 individuals on the lower elevation islands of Oahu and Molokai, and they are now extinct from the island of Lanai. These birds prefer to keep hidden among the leaves.

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Iiwi SONGS AND CALLS

Iiwi 1

Musical tootle calls.

Iiwi 5

Call is a loud "oo-eek".

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"Chu-weet"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The feathers of the Iiwi were used by Native Hawaiians to create robes for nobility, giving rise to its scientific name, vestiaria, from the latin word for clothing, and coccinea, scarlet-colored. The juveniles were once thought to be a different species because of their golden plumage and ivory bills.
  • A group of honeycreepers are collectively known as a "hive" of honeycreepers.
  • Over the past 100 years, its bill length has shrunk by .5mm, this may reflect its diet of shorter flowers such as from the Ohia tree, instead of the longer curved lobelioid flowers which have become endangered.
  • This honeycreeper is a member of the Finch rather than the Tanager family, where honeycreepers found in Central and South America are currently placed. Its subfamily, Drepanidinae was formerly considered a family, has become a subfamily of the Fringillidae family due to advances in molecular studies.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Crystal Adams

Artist

Chris Vest

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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Inner secondariesX
The group of secondary feathers located closest to the body with respect to the outer secondary coverts.
SecondariesX
Flight feathers that are attached to the wing in the area similar to the human forearm and between the body and the primaries.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X