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Hawaii News

Honeycreepers’ numbers dwindling, and so are their songs

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A scientific study that examined the historical recordings of three native honeycreeper species in the forests of Kauai over the past 40 years found a dip in the complexity and variety of songs by two of the species. The study, led by University of Hawaii-Hilo researcher Kristina Paxton, reveals a quieter forest with fewer distinct honeycreeper calls, more simplistic trills and increasingly similar sounds across the species. Known for their bright feathers and canarylike songs, Hawaiian honeycreepers are famous for "adaptive radiation," in which a wide variety of species evolved to fill niches throughout their island environments.
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PHOTO U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

As the population of Kauai amakihi has declined over the years, their once complex songs have become less diverse and have a narrower range.