Hawaiian Birds: Evolutionary Treasures
Too Valuable To Be Lost
Hawaiian honeycreepers are an apparently diverse assemblage of birds that have evolved on the Hawaiian Islands and exist nowhere else. Honeycreepers are diverse in appearance, some have a spectacular sickle shaped bill while others have shorter, or stouter, or cross bills. But honeycreepers are all descended from a pair of finches that made it out to the islands about 5 million years ago. Since humans settled on the islands however, two-thirds of the honeycreepers have gone extinct, and half of the species that remain are threatened with extinction. We spoke with Professor Leonard Freed of the University of Hawaii about the natural history of honeycreepers and conservation efforts on their behalf.