Kauai Amakihi Chlorodrepanis stejnegeri


Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a very small range, occupying a small area of upland forest on one island, where it is at risk from the effects of exotic taxa. Although habitat is being degraded within its range, it apparently benefits from the introduction of banana poka and is able to utilise a broad range of habitat types.

Population justification
The population in the Alaka'i and Koke'e areas alone was estimated at 6, 519 individuals (95% CI: 4,844– 8,495) in 2012.

Trend justification
The species's population in the Alaka`i and Koke`e areas increased significantly from around 11,000 individuals in 1973 to around 42,000 individuals in 2000 (Foster et al. 2004). The entire population is thus thought to be increasing.

Distribution and population

Hemignathus kauaiensis is endemic to Kaua`i in the Hawaiian Islands (USA). It is common in the uplands including the Alaka`i Wilderness Preserve and especially in Kôke`e State Park, and an isolated population occurs in the Makaleha Mountains (USFWS 1983, Pratt 1993, Conant et al. 1998). Historically it ranged down to coastal elevations, as indicated by fossil evidence (P. Roberts in litt. 2007). During 1968-1973, surveys estimated the population at 10,743 (± 970 standard error), with 76% of the population in the west of Alaka`i study compartment (USFWS 1983). Subsequent population estimates suggested that the population was greater than 15,000, possibly up to 20,000 birds, and increasing (Scott et al. 1986, Jacobi and Atkinson 1995, Lindsey et al. 1998). In 1992, Hurricane Iniki devastated forests throughout Kaua`i and all bird populations on the island appeared to have been drastically reduced (Pratt 1993, 1994). Subsequent population estimates suggested that this species had recovered (Jacobi and Atkinson 1995, Lindsey et al. 1998, P. Donaldson in litt. 1999, Foster et al. 2004), with the estimated population in the Alaka`i and Kôke`e areas increasing significantly to around 42,000 individuals in 2000 (Foster et al. 2004)However, the most recent estimates in 2012 indicated dramatic declines since 2000 of 91% in the core range and 98% in the periphery, with a resultant population estimate of only 6, 519 individuals (95% CI: 4,844– 8,495; Paxton et al. submitted).


Originally, it occurred in native forests throughout Kaua`i. Today, it occurs above 600 m in `ohi`a forest, but is commonest in western koa-`ohi`a forest (USFWS 1983, Scott et al. 1986, Pratt et al. 1987, Lindsey et al. 1998). Preference for koa-`ohi`a may be attributable to koa itself (Conant et al. 1998), or the abundance of the introduced banana poka in the western parts of its range (Scott et al. 1985). It feeds by gleaning insects from trunks and branches (Pratt et al. 1987, Lindsey et al. 1998), and takes insects and nectar from flowers, apparently thriving on banana poka nectar (USFWS 1983, Conant et al. 1998, Lindsey et al. 1998). It is also an active excavator, hammering and flaking off bark to locate arthropods underneath (T. Snetsinger in litt. 2000).


Clearance of the lowland forests on Kaua`i removed most of the habitat used by this species (USFWS 1983, Lindsey et al. 1998). Current threats include primarily threats introduced by humans, such as cats and rodent predators, disease (carried by introduced mosquitoes), ongoing habitat degradation by ungulates and invasive plants and (probably) competition from non-native birds (Lindsey et al. 1998, P. Baker in litt. 1999, J. M. Scott in litt. 1999, P. Roberts in litt. 2007). Increased temperatures and changes to altitudinal rainfall and stream scouring patterns anticipated as climate change progresses, have already led to increased disease prevalence within remaining habitat (Atkinson et al. 2014). High densities of this species in an area containing avian malaria suggests some level of resistance (Foster et al. 2004). The restricted range of this species and its dependence on canopy species makes it vulnerable to catastrophic events such as hurricanes (P. Roberts in litt. 2007).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

Its habitat is partially protected from development by the Alaka`i Wilderness Preserve the Kôke`e State Park (P. Roberts in litt. 2007), and several Natural Area Reserves. Recently, the top portion of the Alaka`i Wilderness Preserve and the Hono O Na Pali reserved have been fenced, from within which ungulates will be removed; control of rats and cats is ongoing in the latter. Also, since 2014, expanding grids of Goodnature A24 rat traps have protected nests and breeding birds in the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve (40 traps in 2014, 150 traps in 2015, 300 traps in [L. C. Crampton in litt. 2016]).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct long-term population monitoring (Lindsey et al. 1998). Conduct research into its biology and limiting factors (Lindsey et al. 1998). Control introduced plants, predators, herbivores, competitors and mosquitoes, especially in the Alaka`i Wilderness Preserve (Scott et al. 1986, Lindsey et al. 1998). Designate more native forests as legally protected (Lindsey et al. 1998). Reforest some areas with native trees (Lindsey et al. 1998).


11 cm. Small honeycreeper with medium-sized, sickle-shaped bill. Male olive-yellow, brighter on head and underparts, with dark grey lores. Bill dark on culmen shading to bluish-grey base of mandible. Female and juvenile similar but less bright. Similar spp. `Anianiau H. parvus yellower, with much smaller bill and no black in lores. `Akeke`e Loxops caeruleirostris has shorter, bluish bill surrounded by dark mask, prominent yellow forehead and rump. Male Kaua`i Nukupu`u H. lucidus hanapepe yellow on head and breast, white below with all-black, thin bill, female nearly lacking yellow entirely. Voice Song a vigorous trill with short introductory note, sometimes on level pitch, sometimes descending. Typical call a sharp chirp. Also gives buzzy mewing note. Hints Bill much larger than in other `Amakihis, leading to many misidentifications as Nukupu`u. Easily seen at Koke`e.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Isherwood, I., Stattersfield, A., Stuart, T., Taylor, J. & North, A.

Baker, P.E., Camp, R., Donaldson, P., Fretz, S., Gorresen, M., Leonard, D., Roberts, P., Scott, J., Snetsinger, T., VanderWerf, E., Woodworth, B., Crampton, L. & Costantini, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Chlorodrepanis stejnegeri. Downloaded from on 10/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/08/2020.