Scissor-billed koa finch

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Scissor-billed Koa Finch
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Parvorder: Passerida
Family: Fringillidae
Subfamily: Carduelinae
Tribe: Psittirostrini
Genus: Rhodacanthis
Species: R. forfex
Binomial name
Rhodacanthis forfex
James & Olson, 2005

The Scissor-billed Koa Finch, (Rhodacanthis forfex) or Scissor Finch is an extinct species of Hawaiian honeycreeper. Of the four species in the genus Rhodacanthis, the Scissor-billed Koa Finch and the Primitive Koa Finch became extinct before the arrival of the first Europeans to Hawaii in 1778. It was endemic to the islands of Maui and Kauaʻi in the Hawaiian Islands.[1]


The Scissor-billed Koa Finch was a granivore, that, like the other members of its genus, had a bill adapted to eat the hard seeds and pods of legumes. Pollen and fossil evidence indicates that Ka palupalu o Kanaloa (Kanaloa kahoolawensis) and koaiʻa (Acacia koaia) were probably important food sources, and it may have eaten caterpillars and ʻaʻaliʻi (Dodonaea viscosa) berries.[2]


Due to its early extinction, very little is known about this species. It is only known from fossil remains. Other Hawaiian honeycreepers are known to have become extinct or very rare due to habitat loss, introduced predators and avian diseases. It is possible the extinction of the Scissor-billed Koa Finch also involved these factors.


  1. ^ James, Helen F.; Storrs L. Olson (2005). "The diversity and biogeography of koa-finches (Drepanidini: Rhodacanthis) with descriptions of two new species" (PDF). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (Linnean Society of London) 144 (4): 527–541. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2005.00173.x. 
  2. ^ James, Helen F.; Johnathan P. Prince (May 2008). "Integration of palaeontological, historical, and geographical data on the extinction of koa-finches". Diversity & Distributions 14 (3): 441–451. doi:10.1111/j.1472-4642.2007.00442.x.