Maui Nui 'akialoa
|Maui Nui 'akialoa|
|Species:||† H. ellisianus|
G.R. Gray, 1860
|Hemignathus ellisianus lanaiensis
The Maui Nui 'akialoa or Lana'i 'akialoa (Hemignathus ellisianus lanaiensis) is a finch in the Fringillidae family. It was endemic to the island of Lanai, Hawaii in modern times, but seems to have occurred on all major islands of former Maui Nui before human settlement.
The Maui Nui akialoa was one of the birds that made up the group akialoa. This group included the long billed birds that were from five to nine inches in length. What makes up to a third of their length was their bill which ranged from an inch in length, to two and a half. This species was the second largest of the akialoas and was the most widespread. It once inhabited the islands of Lanai, Kahoolawe and Molokai but vanished before scientists could see them alive there.
It was a grayish-yellow bird that was found at mid-altitude areas where it was seen pecking on bark in search or insects and seen pecking at flowers in search of nectar. The bird was six inches long, with a bill that was an inch and a half in length.
It was a bird that was very fragile in nature and elusive. It was never found in high numbers and may have been on the verge of extinction on Maui when the Europeans arrived. The loss of the understory layer to pigs was a big hit to the last of the birds. If the land was cleared by pigs, the land would have a forest floor layer made up of durable, pig resistant plants the akialoa was not accustomed to. By 1892, this akialoa was gone, and was the first of four species of akialoa to go extinct due to habitat loss and introduced diseases.
- BirdLife International 2004. Hemignathus lanaiensis. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 10 July 2007.
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