Chapter 16 Mystery
(web Links)

The Honeycreepers (National Park Service)

The Honeycreeper Evolutionary Tree

Origins of the Hawaiian Islands
(Very relevant to the origins of the Honeycreepers)

Island Speciation (UC Berkeley)

Picture Wing Flies
(Another case of speciation in Hawaii)

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Such Varied Honeycreepers

The misty rain forests on the Hawaiian island of Kauai are home to birds found nowhere else on Earth. Hiking at dawn, you hear them before you see them. Their songs fill the air with beautiful music. Then you spot a brilliant red bird with black wings called an 'i'iwii. As you watch, it uses its long, curved beak to probe for nectar deep in the flowers of 'o'hia trees.

The i'iwi is just one of a number of species of Hawaiian honeycreepers, all of which are related to finches. Various honeycreeper species feed on nectar, insects, seeds, or fruits. Many Hawaiian honeycreepers, however, feed only on the seeds or nectar of unique Hawaiian plants. How did all these birds get to Hawaii?

How did some of them come to have such specialized diets? As you read the chapter, look for clues that help explain the number and diversity of Hawaiian honeycreepers. Then, solve the mystery.