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Laysan Finches1

The most prominent characteristic of passerine birds is the anisodactyl arrangement of toes. These birds have four toes, three facing forward and one backward, which allows the bird to easily cling to both horizontal and nearly vertical perches, including branches and tree trunks. Three passerines are found on the Refuge - the Laysan finch, found on Laysan Island and Pearl and Hermes Atoll, and the Nihoa finch and the Nihoa millerbird, which are endemic to Nihoa.

  • Laysan Finch

    Laysan finch thumbnail

    This member of the Hawaiian honeycreeper group is rather common on its namesake island, now averaging several birds per acre. 

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  • Nihoa Finch

    Nihoa finch thumbnail

    The Nihoa finch is very similar to the Laysan finch but smaller and lives only on the tiny island of Nihoa.

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  • Nihoa Millerbird

    Nihoa Millerbird thumbnail

    These shy little birds spend their time near the ground in goosefoot (Chenopodium sanwicheum) and ilima (Sida Fallax), where they forage for insects.  

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Page Photo Credits — Sheldon Plentovich
Last Updated: Aug 23, 2013
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