|Oʻahu nukupuʻu (H. l. lucidus)|
The nukupuʻu (Hemignathus lucidus) is a critically endangered species of Hawaiian honeycreeper in the Fringillidae family. There are no recent confirmed records and it may be extinct or functionally extinct. Its habitat is dense mesic and wet forests of ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) and koa (Acacia koa) at altitudes of 3,300–6,600 feet (1,000–2,000 m).
Males have yellow underparts and head. The upperparts are duller, darker and greenish. Females are overall duller, with most of the underparts whitish. The lores, eye-ring and long decurved bill are blackish. It is 5.5 inches (14 cm) long.
The last sightings - both on Kauaʻi and Maui - were in 1998, though it is possible some of the sighting in the 1990s actually involve the Kauaʻi ʻamakihi. Later sightings remain unconfirmed. Recent surveys have failed to locate the species and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that it in all probability is extinct or functionally extinct. BirdLife International (and thereby IUCN) have chosen to retain its status as critically endangered until additional surveys have confirmed its extinction beyond reasonable doubts. As several other Hawaiian honeycreeper, the decline of the nukupuʻu is connected to habitat loss (both due to man and hurricanes), introduced predators and disease-carrying mosquitoes.
The nukupuʻu is one of the species a project of the East Maui Watershed has been aimed at. Other birds from this area included the ʻōʻū and the poʻouli. The project involved fencing in the area and eradicating introduced predators. The entire project took out 22 feral cats, 209 pigs, 1,596 Polynesian rats, 1,205 black rats, and 1,948 common mice. On Kauaʻi, comparable projects exists around the Koaiʻe Stream.
- Maui nukupuʻu (Hemignathus lucidus affinis) extinct - 1995-1998
- Kauaʻi nukupuʻu (Hemignathus lucidus hanapepe) extinct - 1998
- Oʻahu nukupuʻu (Hemignathus lucidus lucidus) extinct - 1837
In addition, some evidence from the fossil record has suggested that an extinct species, the giant nukupu‘u (Hemignathus vorpalis) existed prior to European discovery of the Hawaiian Islands.
- James, Helen F., & Olson, Storrs L. (2003). A giant new species of nukupuu (Fringillidae: Drepanidini: Hemignathus) from the island of Hawaii. The Auk. 120(4): 970-981.
- Species factsheet - BirdLife International
- 3D view of specimen RMNH 110.002 at Naturalis, Leiden (requires QuickTime browser plugin)
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