Photo: An adult ʻākohekohe
An adult ʻākohekohe keeping watch. - Photo: Jacob Drucker

Possibly named after their guttural kohe-kohe-chunk-chunk courtship calls, ʻākohekohe (Palmeria dolei) is the largest extant honeycreeper on Maui. Also known as the crested honeycreeper, adult ʻākohekohe have a prominent tuft of silvery feathers on their foreheads, an orange eye ring, and dappled black, silver, and reddish-orange plumage. ʻĀkohekohe are only found in wet, ʻōhiʻa-koa forests on the high northeastern slopes of Haleakalā.

High-resolution aerial imagery is now being applied to map critical forest areas for the protection of ʻākohekohe and other native forest birds. Adult ʻākohekohe seem to occupy smaller ranges than juvenile birds, suggesting that juveniles may have difficulty finding their own territory and must travel farther across Haleakalā to escape competition.

Unfortunately, younger birds moving down the mountain may face greater exposure to avian malaria in lower-elevation forests. Mosquito control efforts, like the Wolbachia insect incompatibility technique (IIT), may be essential in helping to save this species. Learn more at