The 'akohekohe, the amazing crested honeycreeper by KenG ()
On the slopes of northeastern portion of the Haleakala Volcano on the island of Maui lives the endangered 'akohekohe. 'akohekohe (pronounced "ah ko-hay ko-hay") in Hawaiian means "pubic hair" and probably refers to the tuft of fluff protruding from its' beak (there's probably some things you just didn't need to know, right? lol).
The ‘Akohekohe is very aggressive and will chase off Apapane and I’Iwi for possession of 'ohi'a blossoms. Nectar from the 'Ohi'a tree makes up 40-75% of these birds' diets. They also feed on the nectar of other plants, caterpillars, flies, spiders, and other invertebrates.
There are approximately 3,800 mature individuals left. After a big decline, the ‘Ahohekohe populations appear to have stabilized. At this point in time, the major threats appear to be the negative effects of introduced animals (especially feral pigs) and plants. Feral pigs wreak havoc on the soil and vegetation in native forests, destroying native understory and subcanopy plants and creating wallows that can act as breeding sites for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Rainforest areas that have been affected by pigs can recover if the pigs are removed, but these areas have higher concentrations of non-native plants. Although 'Akohekohes feed primarily in the canopy on 'ohi'a trees, they also feed on flowering understory shrubs. The destructive activities of pigs, together with the encroachment of non-native plants into formerly pristine forest, may cause 'Akohekohes to search for food at lower elevations, where infectious mosquitoes and avian diseases are common.
Rendered in DS4 without postwork. Model Credits: Tropical Cove (Nerd), Ohia branch and 'Akohekohe from Songbird ReMix Hawaii (Ken Gilliland)