Oreomystis bairdi Stejneger, 1887.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Kauai creeper; French: Grimpeur de Kauai; German: Akikiki; Spanish: Akikiki.
4–4.7 in (10–12 cm); 0.4–0.6 oz (11–17 g). Mostly medium gray with a white belly; short, pink bill; legs and feet are stout and strong.
Montane mesic and rainforest above 1,968 ft (600 m).
Lively and active, yet elusive and quiet, moves with a distinctive creeping motion over tree bark while foraging (thus the name “creeper”), reminiscent of nuthatches (family Sittidae); can climb along trunks and branches in any direction. Its unassuming call is the source of its name.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds mainly on insects and their larvae, spiders, millipedes, and slugs; nectar and fruit only rarely. Tongue is short, nontubular, and forked, efficient at snagging and seizing insects from tight niches, unlike the brush-tipped nectar-lapping tongues common among honeycreepers. Birds forage singly, in pairs, or in family groups of up to four individuals. May also form flocks of up to 12 individuals of same species or in mixed flocks with anianiau and akeke’e.
Male and female build cup nest of bark and plant fiber for clutch of two eggs. Previous year’s fledglings often help in raising their parents’ next brood.
Abundant, but confined to limited area in central Kauai. Listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN, and of special concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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