Skip Navigation

Laysan Finch

Telespiza cantans
Laysan finch

The Laysan finch is a member of the honeycreeper family. The adult male has a yellow head, breast, and back, a gray neck collar, and whitish belly. The adult female has a yellow crown with some brown streaking, a gray collar, yellow throat and breast, and the back feathers have dark brown spots edged with brown with a trace of yellow. Yellow on the female is less brilliant than that on the male. The male is slightly larger than the female.

The Laysan finch is endemic on Laysan Island. Nesting begins in February and continues into May, with adults building nests in the crannies of rocks or in clumps of the native bunchgrasses. The clutch size averages three eggs.

After rabbits were eliminated in 1923 on Laysan Island, the Laysan finch steadily recovered as vegetation returned to the island. In order to reduce the risk of complete extinction via one destructive event, such as extremely dry years or huge storms, a group of birds was introduced to Pearl and Hermes Reef in 1967 where they now survive in small numbers.

Facts About Laysan Finch

Diet
Forage on the ground and among bushes for seeds, roots, carrion, and invertebrates
Size
Length: 15-16.5 cm (6-6.5 in)
Page Photo Credits — Sheldon Plentovich
Last Updated: Aug 23, 2013
Return to main navigation