Ciridops anna (Dole)

Ula Ai Hawane (Ciridops anna)

The Ula Ai Hawane was described in 1879, the species is historically known for certain only from the island of Hawai’i, however, it is possible that two of the five existing specimens were collected on the island of Moloka’i (these two are of a supposed female and a likewise supposed immature male (see depiction below)). [2]

The species reached a size of about 11 to 12 cm; the males had a light grey head and neck, a black breast and a bright red rump, the wings were black and red as well, with the outer webs of the tertials white; the females were olive green and brown in color. [4]

Since the only two specimens that possibly come from Moloka’i differ from the other three, they might as well be interpreted as a distinct subspecies. 


The Hawaiian name ʻula-ʻai-hāwane means “red eating hawane”, hawane are the fruits of the endemic lo’ulu palms (Pritchardia spp.). The birds were only ever found near the lo’ulu palms and are thought to have fed on their flowers and fruits or perhaps on insects hiding in the leaf axilles. [3]


Subfossil remains found on Moloka’i were also assigned to this species, however, it is definitely possible that the Moloka’ian birds differed from the Hawaiians at the subspecies level. [1]



[1] S. L. Olson; H. F. James: Descriptions of thirty-two new species of birds from the Hawaiian Islands: Part II. Passeriformes. Ornithological Monographs 45: 1-91. 1991
[2] Storrs L. Olson: William T. Brigham’s Hawaiian birds and a possible historical record of Ciridops anna (Aves: Drepanidini) from Molokai. Pacific Scenice 46(4): 495-500. 1992
[3] H. D. Pratt: The Hawaiian Honeycreepers: Drepanidinae. Oxford University Press 2005
[4] Storrs L. Olson: History, structure, evolution, behaviour, distribution, and ecology of the extinct Hawaiian genus Ciridops (Fringillidae, Carduelini, Drepanidini). The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 124(4): 651-674. 2012


Depiction from: ‘Scott B. Wilson; A. H. Wilson; Frederick William Frohawk; Hans Gadow: Aves Hawaiienses: the birds of the Sandwich Islands. London: R. H. Porter 1890-1899’

(not in copyright)


edited: 18.10.2020