FWS Focus


The Maui Parrotbill is one of the larger (20 to 25 grams; 0.68 to 0.85 ounce; 5 1/2 inches in length) and more unique Hawaiian honeycreepers. It has a large head, powerful neck, a massive curved, parrot-like bill, stout legs, and short wings and tail. Adult kiwikiu of both sexes are olive-green on the crown, back, wings, and tail, yellow on the cheeks, breast, and belly, grading into paler yellowish and white towards the vent, with a contrasting bright yellow supercilium (line above the eye). The hooked upper mandible is dark gray, and the chisel-like lower mandible is a pale ivory color. The sexes are clearly dimorphic in size; males are heavier, larger billed, and longer-winged than females. Males also tend to be more brightly colored than females, but not all individuals of each sex can be safely distinguished by color (Mountainspring 1987, p. 27; Simon et al. 1997, p. 2; Berlin et al. 2001, p. 19). Juvenile plumage can be confused with some female plumages, but usually young are duller grayish-green above and light gray ventrally instead of the yellow like adults. The kiwikiu is a monotypic species with no known geographic variation in plumage or morphology. This species occurs only on the island of Maui in a small 30 square kilometer (11.5 square mile) area of wet and mesic montane forest above 1,219 meters (4,000 feet) elevation on the northeastern slope of Haleakala Volcano on east Maui. Kiwikiu are socially monogamous, non-migratory, and defend year-round territories averaging 2.3 hectares (5.7 acres) in size (Pratt et al. 2001, p. 750).

Scientific Name

Pseudonestor xanthophrys
Common Name
Maui Honeycreeper
Maui Parrotbill
Maui parrotbill (Kiwikiu)
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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