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Oʻahu nukupuʻu (H. lucidus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Subfamily: Carduelinae
Tribe: Hemignathini
Genus: Hemignathus

The nukupuʻu (Hemignathus sp.) is a group of critically endangered species of Hawaiian honeycreeper in the Fringillidae family. There are no recent confirmed records for any of the species and they may be extinct or functionally extinct. Habitat was 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).


1893 illustration

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 any of the species and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that it in all probability are extinct or functionally extinct. As several other Hawaiian honeycreeper, the decline of the nukupuʻu group is connected to habitat loss (both due to man and hurricanes), introduced predators and disease-carrying mosquitoes.

The Maui 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.


Historical record[edit]

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.

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