'Apapane: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Read the following for some interesting 'apapane bird facts to learn more about this bright crimson species of songbird that is also one of the most important and abundant pollinators of the ohi'a tree.

'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea) is a species of Hawaiian honeycreepers (birds) native to the Hawaiian islands of Maui, Lanai, and Kauai and is about 13 cm long. 'Apapanes have bright crimson plumage with dark wings, a blue-black bill, and a dark tail. The 'apapane is a physically monochromatic songbird. The males and females are easily distinguishable by their size as the males are somewhat heavier than the females. The 'apapane can be found in mesic and wet local timberlands on the Hawaiian islands that are overwhelmed by this honeycreepers' favorite food source, the ohi'a tree nectar. During times of breeding, the males sing to draw in a mate. The males are forceful toward other males when attempting to attract a mate to protect their territory. For the most part, these birds structure cup nests on parts of the ohi'a and different other types of trees. Additionally, their homes have been found in tree pits and magma tubes.

'Apapanes are agile and energetic birds. The home range of 'apapane is primarily dependant upon the accessibility of food. The 'apapane uses a variety of songs and calls, including squeaks, whistles, scratching calls, clicking sounds, and melodic trills to communicate with other birds. The 'apapane is a nectarivorous bird meaning it depends primarily on the nectar of flowers for its diet, yet it is occasionally found eating small insects and spiders. These birds extract nectar from an assortment of trees relying upon the island that they possess. Although the favored food hotspot for the 'apapane is the ohi'a, native to Hawaiian islands.

For more relatable content, check out these common swift facts and canyon wren facts for kids.


Fact File

What do they prey on?

Nectar, small insects, spiders

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-4 white eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.51-0.60 oz (14.4-17 g)

How long are they?

5-5.12 in (12.7-13 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Crimson feathers with dark wings and tail

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Habitat loss, big animals and insects

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Mesic and wet native forest, non-native forest, and islands


The Hawaiian Islands, Ohia forest





Scientific Name

Himatione sanguinea





Apapane Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an 'apapane?

'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea) is a Hawaiian honeycreeper native to the Hawaiian islands of Maui, Kauai, and Lanai. This species of Hawaiian honeycreeper is a bright bird with dark feathers, wings, a blue-black bill, and distinct under tail coverts. The habitat of this bird species is found amongst forests, open grasslands, and islands found in low elevations. This species of bird's feeding habits primarily focus on a diet of the nectar of flowers, especially the ohi'a trees, and occasionally on small insects like spiders. They are agile birds and their breeding season lasts throughout April, during which the adult males sing songs to attract adult females. Females make nests on trees, and after copulation, they lay two to three eggs in the same nest.

What class of animal does the 'apapane belong to?

Apapane (Himatione sanguinea) is a species of Hawaiian honeycreeper which is a bird, and like all the species of birds, they belong to the class Aves.

How many 'apapane are there in the world?

The exact population of the 'apapane (Himatione sanguinea) is not yet known, but they are not extinct, and their conservation status is of Least Concern as per the IUCN Red List. This implies an abundance of 'apapanes in the world with no current threat of going extinct at present.

Where do the 'apapane live?

Himatione sanguinea ('apapane) birds prefer to live in forests, tropical grasslands, and areas with a dense concentration of plants and trees.

What is the 'apapane's habitat?

The Himatione sanguinea's ('apapane) choice of habitat comprises primarily of the Hawaiian islands of Lanai, Kauai, and Maui. This honeycreeper mainly inhabits native and non-native forests primarily dotted with ohi'a trees and islands with low elevations, like the Hawaiian island of Maui.

Who do' apapane live with?

'Apapane birds prefer to live in groups of 2-20 similar birds. After the breeding season in the month of April, these birds fly and travel in small flocks.

How long does an 'apapane live?

The exact life span of this species of bird in the wild is unknown, but when kept in captivity, they are found to live up to 11 years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season begins in January and lasts till April. The male sings songs to draw in his potential mates. Prior to the development of the nest, there is a sexual pursue. To start the copulation process, the female hunkers on a tree branch and flutters its wings. After copulation, the nesting begins and continues for around five to eight days. They generally structure cup nests on branches of the ohi'a tree; however, their nests have also been found in tree cavities and magma tubes. The female lays around three white eggs with earthy colored dots, and then she sits on her eggs with her brood in direct contact with the eggs to assist with thermoregulation. During this time, the male provides food to feed both the female and their offspring.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this Hawaiian bird population is at Least Concern as per the IUCN Red List, implying that there are abundant 'apapanes in the world.

Apapane Fun Facts

What do 'apapanes look like?

The 'apapane is such a passionate songbird that its song is heard loud and clear even during flight.

'Apapanes are small crimson-colored native Hawaiian birds. They have distinct white under-tail coverts with dark abdomen feathers. Young' apapane are yellow-brown to gray in color, with similar white plumage as adults, which transform into crimson red plumage over the span of two years. The birds display a huge, decurved, somewhat deep blue bill that is 0.5-0.6 in (15-17 mm) long, and this bill is utilized for extracting nectar. Their head is more brightly colored than the rest of their plumage. The males and females are easily distinguishable by size as the male birds are somewhat heavier than the females.

How cute are they?

With their red-brown body and white plumage, 'apapanes are extremely cute.

How do they communicate?

'Apapanes make various types of calls and songs including whistles, squeaks, clicking sounds, melodic trills, and rasping notes to communicate with others.

How big is an 'apapane?

The length of an 'apapane is between 5-5.12 in (12.7-13 cm). They are smaller than a sparrow.

How fast can an 'apapane fly?

Researchers have not yet found out the exact speed of this species of this native of Hawaii, but due to their small size, they are believed to be very fast in terms of flying speeds.

How much does an 'apapane weigh?

The weight of this Hawaii native bird is somewhere between 0.51-0.60 oz (14.4-17 g). They are similar in weight to a sparrow.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no special name given to the males or females of this species.

What would you call a baby' apapane?

A baby 'apapane does not bear a special name but can be called chick or juvenile.

What do they eat?

Baby 'apapanes usually feed on the nectar of flowers, whereas the adults are often found eating small insects like worms apart from nectar and seeds. They also eat snails and grasshoppers. Ohi'a trees are their most loved trees.

Are they dangerous?

If not disturbed or harmed, these birds are not at all dangerous in nature. However, they are very territorial, especially when it comes to breeding.

Would they make a good pet?

They would make a good pet, but it is not advisable to pet them as they are wild birds, and it is extremely difficult to create a suitable habitat with optimum living conditions for them.

Did you know...

There are at least 56 subspecies of the Hawaiian honeycreepers known to mankind. However, most of them have become extinct, leaving only 18 behind.

How did Hawaiian honeycreepers evolve?

In Hawaii, these honeycreepers, along with a few other plant and animal types called lobeliads, belong to the bellflower family (Campanulaceae). This family evolved due to a complex association that included nectar-feeding, fertilization, and seed dispersal.

Do 'apapanes sing while in flight?

Yes, 'apapanes sing while they are flying.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our black cuckoo facts and Anna's hummingbird facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Apapane coloring pages.



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