The Nihoa finch is very similar to the Laysan finch but smaller. The male has a bright yellow head, neck, and breast with a broad grey band between the neck and mid-back. The lower back and rump of the male are gray. Females have a yellow throat and breast streaked with brown, the head and back are brown streaked with black.
The Nihoa finch whistles, trills, and warbles loudly and melodiously. Males are showy when singing, holding their wings horizontally away from their bodies and sometimes swaying back and forth. The distress call is a loud, harsh chip.
The Nihoa finch lives only on the island of Nihoa, 250 miles northwest of O‘ahu. It prefers open but vegetated habitat throughout the island. Nihoa finches build their nests in small holes in rock outcrops 100 to 800 feet above sea level. Egg laying begins in February and may extend to early July, with an average clutch of three eggs.
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Until 2011, the Nihoa Millerbird was found only on Nihoa Island. Today, it thrives on Laysan Island due to translocation efforts by the USFWS and American Bird Conservancy.