Creeping up and down koa and ‘ōhi‘a tree trunks and along the underside of larger branches, this bird feeds on insects living under the loose bark.
Hakalau Forest NWR was established in 1985 to protect and manage endangered Hawaiian forest birds and their rain forest habitat. Eight of the 14 native bird species occurring at Hakalau are endangered.
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The rare and endangered ‘akiapōlā‘au occurs in only a few areas of upper elevation koa/‘ōhi‘a forest on the Big Island. The ‘akiapōlā‘au feeds on insects and caterpillars living in the wood and under the bark of koa trees. Its bill is one of the most unusual in the honeycreeper family.