Justification of Red List Category
This Laysan endemic honeycreeper became Extinct in 1923 due to the almost complete destruction of vegetation cover on the island following the introduction of rabbits as a food supply for guano miners in the 1890s.The final act was a violent storm, in which what were considered the final three individuals were killed.
First observed in 1891, Rothschild (1893-1900) described the species as much the rarest of the birds of Laysan. Subsequently the situation deteriorated, and the last 3 known Laysan Honeycreeper individuals died in 1923 (Olson 1996).
Himatione fraithii was endemic to Laysan, in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, United States, but became extinct in 1923 (E. VanderWerf in litt. 2011).
Rothschild (1893-1900, in Fancy and Ralph 1997) stated that the species was by far the rarest of the Laysan Island birds, though I have observed a fair number, generally in pairs. They are very active in their movements, flitting about in the scrub. It feeds on very small insects as a rule, but I have also observed it sucking honey from the flowers.
The introduction of rabbits as a food supply for the guano miners that worked the Laysan Islands at the turn of the 20th Century was disastrous for the species. Virtually all vegetative cover on the island was eliminated, and the final three individuals were apparently killed in a vicious storm in 1923, with no shelter remaining on the island (Olson 1996, Fancy and Ralph 1997).
Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Martin, R, Khwaja, N.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Himatione fraithii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/02/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/02/2020.