Thursday, November 13, 2008

'Apapane - Hawaiian Honeycreeper

I love painting birds with flowers. But it's November and there are no flowers in sight here in New England. So let's go to Hawaii! My interest in Hawaii is enhanced by the fact that our president-elect hails from that island state.
This nectar-sipping bird is found on six of the islands of Hawaii and commonly seen on the major four, flashing about among the tops of flowering trees. Here are some facts about this bright red beauty:

-The 'Apapane (pronounced ah-pah-PAH-nee) is a forest bird, a member of the Honeycreeper family, 5 inches in length.
-A nectar eater, the 'Apapane follows the flowering cycles of the 'Ohia lehua trees (pronounced oh-HEE-ah lay-HOO-ah) which are the most common native forest trees on the islands. The 'Ohia lehua nectar is their main source of food, but they also dine on small insects.
-These birds remain at an altitude of several thousand feet above sea level to avoid diseases brought on by malaria-carrying insects.
-The male 'Apapane is an avid singer, singing constantly throughout the day both to attract a mate, and later to defend his nesting territory. Six different calls and 10 song patterns make up his repertoire. While nesting, by contrast, the female is silent.
-'Apapane build their nests at the top of 'Ohia lehua trees. Both male and female are involved in the nesting with the male feeding the female as she sits on the eggs. Both parents feed the nestlings which take three months to fledge. By that time, they are ready to be on their own!
  • This painting has been sold.

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