Rare Earthtones Logo
Spacer Spacer
Center for Biological Diversity Home

'AKEPA } Loxops coccineus

RANGE: Hawaii

STATUS: The ’akepa is deemed Endangered by the IUCN. The Maui and Kauai ’akepas are protected as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

THREATS: Habitat loss, climate change, disease

All ’akepas sport an unusual bill — when it’s closed, the upper bill tip overlaps the lower tip just slightly, enhancing the bird’s ability to pry open leaf buds to extract arthropod prey. Males older than four years old have brilliant orange plumage, while females are mostly gray and greenish gray. Like most native Hawaii forest birds, ’akepas are largely limited to upper elevations, where it’s too cold for mosquitoes carrying avian diseases to infect them. That means that as climate change warms their habitat, these beautiful birds will be pushed further and further upslope and have an increasingly smaller range. The ’akepa is also threatened by habitat destruction and degradation caused by cattle, nonnative plants, and introduced predators and birds.

Photo by Hadoram Shirihai, contributed by Photographic Handbook of Birds of the World, Jornvall & Shirihai, A & C Black, London