• ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi: Kioea
  • Scientific:  Chaetoptila angustipluma 

This kioea is a forest bird and a honeyeater in the family Mohoidae. Note that there is another native bird in Hawaiʻi also called kioea (Numenius tahitiensis), but it is a migratory seabird.


No available recordings.

Conservation Status 

Extinct. Last confirmed sighting in 1859.

Species Information 

Kioea are one of five species of Hawaiian honeyeaters. The Mohoidae family colonized Hawaiʻi 14-17 million years ago and provided pollination for lobeliad plants that have existed in Hawaiʻi since this time period (Fleisher and McIntosh 2001, Fleischer et al. 2008). Like many songbirds, their bills and tongues were adapted to these plants. The Mohoidae family is unique because they represent a prime example of convergent evolution, the passing down of similar characteristics over generations (Fleischer et al. 2008). This is most recognized in their beak characteristics. Unfortunately, kioea is referred to as a songbird family and the only songbird family to face extinction (Ewen et al. 2006). The last confirmed sighting of this species in the wild was on Hawaiʻi Island in 1859.  


Hawaiʻi Island 


Comprehensive information about habitat for this species is not known. The few specimens that have been collected likely came from forests near the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, or from forests between Volcano and Hilo. Peale (1848, cited in Pyle & Pyle 2017) noted that it frequented “woody districts.”


The exact cause of extinction is uncertain. However, kioea likely were susceptible to the same factors that threaten other native Hawaiian forest birds including loss and degradation of habitat, predation by introduced mammals, and disease.  


Additional Resources 

Pyle, R.L., and P. Pyle. 2017. The Birds of the Hawaiian Islands: Occurrence, History, Distribution, and Status. B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI, U.S.A. Version 2 (1 January 2017)

Ewen, J.G., Flux, I., and Ericson, P.G.P. (2006). Systematic Affinities of two Enigmatic New Zealand Passerines of High Conservation Priority, the Hihi or Stitchbird Notiomystis Cincta and the Kokako Callaeas Cinerea. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 40, 281–284. 

Fleischer, R. C., James, H. F., & Olson, S. L. (2008). Convergent Evolution of Hawaiian and Australo-Pacific honeyeaters from distant songbird ancestors. Current Biology, 18(24), 1927-1931. 

Fleischer, R. C., & McIntosh, C. E. (2001). Molecular Systematics and Biogeography of the Hawaiian avifauna. Studies in Avian Biology.