The crested honeycreeper is the largest (24 to 29 gram)(0.8 to 1.0 ounce) honeycreeper remaining on Maui Nui. Primarily a black-plumaged bird, the akohekohes lanceolate body feathers are strikingly tipped with orange-red, its throat and breast feathers are tipped with gray, silver, or white, and its wing and tail feathers are distinctly white-tipped. A distinctive brush of white feathers curling forward over the bill comprises the crest, giving the species its English name. Brilliant orange feathers surround the eyes and extend to and cover the nape, feathers on the thighs can be orange or yellowish-white, and the feathers of the epaulettes are white with orange tips. The somewhat curved bill, the feet, and the legs are black. Sexes are identical in plumage pattern and coloration, but males are larger and heavier and can be determined with accuracy by measurements (Simon et al. 1998, p. 657). Juvenile plumage is drab and cryptic yellow-brown or brown-gray, the body plumage lacks all orange-scarlet or orange and silver colors on the feathers or tips, and both the gray tail and wing feathers lack white tips. The crest of the juveniles is short and not as pronounced; its color is yellowish-white. Feet, legs, and bill are gray to black.
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