Hawaiian honeycreeper

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Hawaiian Honeycreeper
Image:Laysanfinch41.JPG
Laysan Finch, Telespiza cantans
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Drepanididae
Genera

Telespiza
Psittirostra (extinct?)
Dysmorodrepanis (extinct)
Loxioides
Rhodacanthis (extinct)
Chloridops (extinct)
Orthiospiza (extinct)
Xestospiza (extinct)
Pseudonestor
Hemignathus
Magumma (disputed)
Akialoa (disputed; extinct)
Heterorhynchus (disputed)
Oreomystis
Paroreomyza
Vangulifer (extinct)
Aidemedia (extinct)
Loxops
Ciridops (extinct)
Vestiaria
Drepanis (extinct)
Palmeria
Himatione
Melamprosops (extinct?)

General

Hawaiian honeycreepers are small passerine birds endemic to Hawaii. Some authorities categorize this group as the subfamily Drepanididae of the finch family Fringillidae, to which they are closely related, but they are usually given full family status as the Drepanididae.

The family is divided into three tribes

  • Psittirostrini (Hawaiian finches), seedeaters with thick finch-like bills and songs like those of cardueline finches.
  • Hemignathini (Hawaiian creepers and allies, including nukupu'us). These are generally green-plumaged birds with thin bills which feed on nectar and insects
  • Drepanidini (Mamos, 'I'iwi and allies). These are birds often with red plumage. They are nectar-feeders and their songs contain nasal squeaks and whistles.

Some unusual forms extinct in earlier times, like Xestospiza or Vangulifer, cannot easily be placed into these tribes.

The male Hawaiian Honeycreepers are often more brightly coloured than the females, but in the Hemignathini, they often look very similar. The flowers of the native plant Metrosideros polymorpha ('ohi'a lehua) are favoured by a number of nectar-eating honeycreepers.

The wide range of bills in this group, from thick finch-like bills to slender downcurved bills for probing flowers have arisen through adaptive radiation, where an ancestral finch has evolved to fill a large number of ecological niches. Some 15 forms of Hawaiian Honeycreeper have become extinct in the recent past, many more since the arrival of the Polynesians who introduced the first rats. The recent extinctions are due to the introduction of other rodent species and the mongoose, habitat destruction and avian malaria and fowlpox.

Species

Several other known species are undescribed, as they are known only from very fragmentary fossil remains.da:Seglfugle fr:Drepanididae

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