The little lemon drop ʻAnianiau from the island of Kaua‘i

Posted by Joanna Maney on

The ʻanianiau (“ah-nee-ah-nee-OW”) is a beautiful little lemon-yellow fluff that lives in the forests of Kaua‘i. The tiniest Hawaiian honeycreeper, they measure less than 4” and weigh about the same as 9 jellybeans. (If you decide to weigh 9 jellybeans in your hand just to see how light that is, we suggest using lemon jellybeans for a more authentic experience.😉)

- The adorable ‘anianiau are endemic to Kaua‘i and can be most often found in the highest elevations of the island’s forests. Males and females are both yellow but the males are a brighter yellow.

- These busy little birds forage for nectar on ‘ōhi‘a, ‘ōhelo, ‘alani, and other native and non-native flowering plants. They also eat bugs and larvae they find in trees and on shrubs and ferns.

- ‘Anianiau can sometimes be seen together in small flocks sipping nectar from a flowering tree.

- Although they likely used to range all over the island, now they are limited mostly to elevations above 2,000 feet, and can be found in the forests of the Kōke‘e, Alaka‘i, and Waimea. They may also be found at lower elevations around 330 feet on the island’s northwestern coast but much of that habitat has been degraded by feral hoofed animals eating away native plants and saplings. These beautiful little birds only inhabit about 15% of what was likely their original territory on the island. The ‘anianiau is currently listed as Vulnerable.

For more information on the enchanting ‘anianiau, visit

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