Open Spaces: Meet the Species: The ‘I‘iwi

Meet the Species: The ‘I‘iwi

Have you ever heard of the ‘i‘iwi?  If you’re from Hawai’i, chances are you have. 

It’s a bright, scarlet bird with black wings, and has a sickle-shaped bill that helps it sip nectar from long, tubular flowers.

i'i'wiPhoto: Jack Jeffrey/USFWS

The ‘i‘iwi is known as the most charismatic bird of the five largest islands - Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i. 

There it serves an important role as a pollinator, which means the bird is a vital component of healthy Hawaiian forests.

But today, we’re considering the ‘i‘iwi for protection. 

After reviewing a petition to list the bird as threatened or endangered under the ESA, filed in 2010 by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Service has decided to initiate a 12-month review of the ‘i‘iwi’s status.  The 12-month finding will determine if listing would be warranted.

I'i'wiPhoto: USGS

According to the petition there are several factors that have contributed to the decline, like encroachment and invasion by nonnative plants, its susceptibility to avian diseases, and urbanization.

If you’re interested in more information about the species or information on how you can make official comments you can check out the full press release here.

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Last updated: June 21, 2012