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The Kauai Elepaio is only found on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It is most common in wet ohia forests above 2,000 feet in elevation and less commonly occurs in drier and more open habitats. This Hawaiian endemic feeds on invertebrates by gleaning them from vegetation and catching them in flight. It is rarely found outside of the Alaka‘i Wilderness Preserve and Koke‘e State Park. The Kauai Amakihi is believed to have a population of 20,000 to 49,999 individuals and has been given a conservation rating of Vulnerable by the IUCN. It is threatened by introduced species, avian malaria, and habitat destruction caused by hurricanes.
IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL
PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION
Kauai Elepaio: This small monarch flycatcher has dark gray-brown to light gray crown and back, white to light gray underparts with light orange-brown wash on upper breast. Lores, eyebrows and throat are white mixed with cinnamon. White wing bars, rump, a white-tipped brown tail, black bill and dark gray legs and feet. Feeds on insects and spiders. Flight is rapid and direct. Sexes are similar.
Range and Habitat
Kauai Elepaio: Endemic to Kauai. Prefers dense, wet ohia forests above 2,000', however most individuals may be found at elevations above 3,600'. They are uncommon in the dry forests of Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast. Much of their population is found on the Alaka'i Plateau and Koke'e State Park.
SONGS AND CALLS
"el-e-pai-o", "chit-chit", "whee-oo"
- The Elepaio was named by the ancient Hawaiians after the sound of its song.
- It is the first native bird to sing in the morning. Its song was thought to warn night spirits that dawn was approaching and their work must end.
- It is considered the guardian spirit of canoe makers, who noticed that koa trees frequented by these birds often harbored large insect populations that would make them unsuited for use as a canoe.
- A group of flycatchers has many collective nouns, including an "outfield", "swatting", "zapper", and "zipper" of flycatchers.
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BIRDS AND BIRDING