Palila

n. An endangered gray, yellow, and white Hawaiian honey creeper (Psittirostra bailleui, P. kona); endemic to the island of Hawaiʻi. Its bill is especially suited for opening māmane tree pods. Its only home is on Mauna Kea, Hawaiʻi. See ex., olokē, piʻoloke.

The palila is one of my favorite birds for a few reasons.  First of all it is endemic to the island of Hawai‘i, which means you won’t find it anywhere else.  Only on my island.  Secondly, it feeds on the pods of the māmane tree, one of my favorite trees, found in the upper forest regions on the slopes of Mauna Kea, from 6,000-9,000 feet level.  Its bill is especially suited for feeding on these pods, so unlike most other honeycreepers, whose beaks are long and curved, the palila’s beak is short and rather sturdy looking.

Although it feeds mostly on the immature māmane pods, it also eats the māmane flowers, young leaves, as well as insects and naio berries.

Palila is one of the endangered species that is being bred in captivity in hopes of increasing the population in the wild.  Attempts have been made to capture them from one area on the slopes of Mauna Kea and release to other areas in order to encourage a larger habitat area only to find that those palila were either attacked by mongoose or they returned to their original habitat.

He manu nani ka palila – The palila is a beautiful bird.

ʻAi ka palila i ka māmane – The palila eats māmane.

Palila-J.-Bauer-IMG_5001a

Copyright: 2015 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Adress inquiries to: hemomi [at] gmail.com. Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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