The Akiapola’au are referred to as the ‘Hawaiian Woodpecker’ because they use their beak to drill holes to drink the sap from endangered old-growth Hawaiian Ohi’a trees. The Akiapola’au also use their long bill to peck open bark to reach larvae and insects.
Female Akiapola’au produce only one egg every two years. That one egg has a low chance of survival for numerous reasons. The Akiapola’au nest and feed exclusively in Ohi’a trees and unfortunately deforestation, off road vehicles and pigs are decimating their habitat. Pigs love to create wallows under Ohi’a, killing the trees. Rats and cats, both invasive species, hunt and eat Akiapola’au and their eggs. Furthermore, mosquitoes were introduced to the Hawaiian Islands bringing diseases that the severely endangered Akiapola’au have no resistance against.
The artist spent three hours per square inch creating this acrylic painting while wearing magnifying goggles. A magnifying glass is required to appreciate the minute details