Hawaii creeper -- 夏威夷悬木雀 (Oreomystis mana)

Hawaii creeper on tree trunk
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Hawaii creeper fact file

Hawaii creeper description

GenusOreomystis (1)

This honey-creeper is a bark-picker with a conical, grey bill. Adults are dull green-grey above, fading to pale grey below and white on the chin and throat. They have a dark grey mask from the base of the bill to behind the eyes. Juveniles are paler. The Hawaiian creeper sings with a descending trill and calls with a rising ‘sweet(2).

Length: 11 cm (2)

Hawaii creeper biology

Breeding between April and July, the female Hawaii creeper constructs the nest in a tree cavity or on an open branch. Whilst she lays one or two eggs and incubates them, the male defends a very small territory in the immediate vicinity of the nest. However, once the chicks have hatched 13 days after laying, both the male and the female contribute to feeding them by regurgitation. After the chicks have fledged, the adults moult (4).

As the name suggests, this species creeps up and down tree trunks and along the underside of branches in search of its insect prey (3). It also consumes nectar, but whilst the availability of insects is constant, nectar is highly seasonal (4).


Hawaii creeper range

Previously widespread on all Hawaiian Islands, the Hawaii creeper is now limited to the main island of the archipelago, where it is found in three distinct populations. They total around 12,000 birds and this figure is currently declining (2).


Hawaii creeper habitat

Occurring mainly in the tropical forests of Hawaii Island, between altitudes of 1,000 and 2,300 m, the Hawaii creeper is also sometimes seen in dry forest. It has not been established whether these individuals are present due to migration, or whether it is a small, resident population. The Hawaii creeper nests in koa trees and tall ohia trees (2).


Hawaii creeper status

The Hawaii creeper is classified as Endangered (EN B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)) on the IUCN Red List 2004 (1) and is listed as Endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Hawaii creeper threats

Habitat loss and degradation are present on Hawaii Island, but since the Hawaii creeper is known to reproduce despite the disturbance, this is not thought to be the major threat to this species. Hawaii has been subjected to a high numbers of species introductions, which have had wide-ranging ecological effects. Feral pigs degrade native forests, enabling the spread of alien plant species and disease-carrying mosquitoes. The mosquitoes carry pox and malaria, which caused epidemics amongst birds in 1992, reducing populations significantly, including the Hawaii creeper. Compounding these declines, introduced rodents predate heavily on Hawaii creeper eggs, reducing breeding success (2).


Hawaii creeper conservation

Honeycreeper habitat has been protected by the creation of the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, and the Hawaiian creeper is also found in the Hawaii Volcanoes National park where feral goats are actively excluded. The feral pig population has been tackled by Hawaiian conservation authorities and private landowners, and cattle have been removed from some reserves. Planting of koa trees began in the early 1990s, and research into the possibility of aerial release of rodenticides is being undertaken. Captive breeding is not taking place, but is possible if thought to be necessary at a later stage (2).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on this species see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2005)
  2. BirdLife International (March, 2005)
  3. Audubon (March, 2005)
  4. VanderWerf, E.A. (1998) Breeding biology and territoriality of the Hawaii creeper. Condor, 100(3): 541 - 545.

Image credit

Hawaii creeper on tree trunk  
Hawaii creeper on tree trunk

© Peter LaTourrette / birdphotography.com

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