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'I'IWI } Loxodonta africana

RANGE: Primarily Hawaii Island and Maui, with small populations on Oahu, Kauai and Molokai

STATUS: This bird is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN and may be warranted for U.S. Endangered Species Act protection.

THREATS: Climate change, disease, urban and agricultural development, nonnative species

With its fiery-red body, quick black wings, and long, curved, salmon-colored bill, the ‘i‘iwi — or scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper — is one of the most recognizable birds of Hawaii. But although it was once widespread across the islands, this iconic bird is now in danger of immediate or near-term extinction across the whole western portion of its habitat. The spread of avian malaria and avian pox has limited its range to high-elevation areas where it’s too cool for mosquitoes to deliver the diseases, and as climate change pushes colder temperatures farther and farther upslope, the bird will have fewer and fewer high-mountain refuges. To save the ‘i‘iwi from extinction, in 2010 the Center and allies petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list it as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as well as to designate critical habitat. The Service is now conducting a review of the bird's status for possible U.S. protection.

Photo © Tom A. Ranker