Kākāwahie

Kākāwahie

group of kakawahie

Kākāwahie. Picture: Rothschild Collection

Names

  • ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi: Kākāwahie
  • Common: Moloka‘i creeper
  • Scientific: Paroreomyza flammea

Conservation Status

  • Presumed Extinct
  • Federally Listed as Endangered
  • State Listed as Endangered
  • State Recognized as Endemic
  • NatureServe Heritage Rank GH—Possibly Extinct
  • IUCN Red List Ranking—Extinct
  • Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds—USFWS 2006

Species Information

The kākāwahie, or Moloka‘i creeper, is a small and insectivorous Hawaiian honeycreeper (Family: Fringillidae) endemic to the forests of eastern Moloka‘i. Males are scarlet red; females are a dull rusty color. The species’ Hawaiian name translates as “woodchopping” and apparently describes the species chipping call. Kākāwahie forage in groups, gleaning invertebrates from leaves, bark, and epiphytes in wet ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha) forests. Little is known about the species’ breeding biology, but it is assumed to be similar to that of the Maui creeper (P. montana). First described in 1889, the last bird was observed less than 100 years later.

Distribution

Unknown. Probably extinct. Last observed on the west rim of Pelekunu Valley. Kākāwahie were common in native forests of eastern Moloka‘i at the end of the 19th century. Original range likely included all forested regions of Moloka‘i.

Habitat

Unknown. Was known to occur in wet ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha) forests from low to high elevations, and other heavily wooded native areas of eastern Moloka‘i. The areas where the species was last observed are managed by the State as Natural Area Reserves or by The Nature Conservancy.

Threats

Unknown. However, kākāwahie likely were susceptible to the same factors that threaten other native Hawaiian forest birds, including habitat loss and degradation, predation by introduced mammals, and disease. For kākāwahie, the following likely was of particular concern:

  • Disease. This species rapid decline and the fact that no habitat above 1,250 meters (4,100 feet) occurs on Moloka‘i suggests disease may have played an important role in the species’ decline

Additional Resources 

For more information and references visit the DLNR State Wildlife Action Plan factsheets. DOFAWʻs species pages and State Wildlife Action Plan fact sheets are provided for general information and are not meant to be a citable, original source of data. If you are a student, researcher, or writer looking for a citable source, please explore the references below or find other original data sources, rather than citing these webpages. The references below were provided by the authors of the State Wildlife Action Plan fact sheets at the time of drafting:

  • Baker PE, Baker H. 2000. Kākāwahie (Paroreomyza flammea) and O‘ahu alauahio (Paroreomyza maculata). In The Birds of North America, No. 503 (Poole A, Gill F, editors.). Philadelphia, (PA): The Academy of Natural Sciences; and Washington DC: The American Ornithologists’ Union.
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015. Version 2014.3. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed May 2015).
  • Scott JM, Mountainspring S, Ramsey FL, Kepler CB. 1986. Forest bird communities of the Hawaiian islands: their dynamics, ecology and conservation. Lawrence, (KS): Cooper Ornithological Society.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2006. Revised Recovery plan for Hawaiian forest birds. Portland, (OR): U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.