Akikiki

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The `Akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi) is s a small honeycreeper.

The Akikiki is found only in the highest elevation native rainforests of Kokeʻe State Park and the Alakaʻi Wilderness Preserve on Kauaʻi.

The current population is estimated to be 1,312.

The ʻAkikiki’s habitat has been reduced to a fragment of its former range by deforestation and deterioration by invasive species.

Avian malaria is a serious threat to the `Akikiki, and global warming could exacerbate that threat by eliminating nearly all areas where malaria transmission is currently temperature limited. Where mean ambient temperatures are between 55-63°F, malaria transmission is constrained, and below 55°F the malaria parasite will not develop in birds.

All forested areas on Kaua`i are warm enough for some level of malaria transmission. However, an increase in temperature of slightly less than 4°F, which is predicted by some models, would raise the 63°F threshold by nearly 1000 feet, resulting in an 85% decrease in the area where transmission is currently limited.

American Bird Conservancy and Hawaiian bird expert, Dr. Eric VanderWerf, petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the `Akikiki under the Endangered Species Act. In response, the Service has proposed listing the species along with `Akeke`e, another imperiled honeycreeper endemic to Kaua`i are facing similar threats. Listing the `Akikiki would provide federal protection of the species and its habitat, and provide funding support for recovery actions such as habitat restoration and protection