The ‘elepaio ("el-ah-PIE-oh") is an adorable little endemic(originating and found only here) flycatcher in the Hawaiian Islands. There are three different species, each isolated on the islands of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, and O‘ahu. Their colors vary from sepia brown to chestnut, buff to tawny, with flecks of black throughout and mostly white below.
They get their name from their shrill song which is a whistle only sung by males.
They hunt for bugs on the ground, in logs and under rocks, and all parts of trees, and often catch them in flight.
Pairs remain together long-term and both males and females participate in rearing the chicks almost equally. They weave beautiful cup shaped nests in a variety of trees and will even nest in non-native trees. They usually rear one or two chicks in about a month. The fledglings stay around the area the were raised for about ten months as they learn to forage.
On O‘ahu, ‘elepaio can be found in the Ko‘olau and Wai‘anae Mountain Ranges but originally they likely ranged all over the island. On Kaua‘i they can mostly be found in the Alaka‘i Plateau and Kōke‘e State Park, and in denser ‘ōhi‘a forests. And on Hawai‘i Island they can be found in most forested areas above 2,000 ft. with isolated populations occurring in Kohala and on the western slope of Mauna Kea.
‘Elepaio are listed as Endangered due to the same factors that threaten other native Hawaiian birds, including loss of habitat, introduced predators, and mosquito borne disease.