Alohacash $5 Lanai – Amakihi and Ohia Lehua


The `Amakihi is a common native Hawaiian honey creeper. Being only about four and one half inches tall, the `Amakihi are small but very energetic while foraging in their common habitat atop the rainforest canopy. Their plumage is yellow and green with a small black “mask” between their eyes, and a sharply downward-curved bill. Males and females are very similar in appearance.

There are three separate species of Amakihi : one on Kauai, another on Oahu and the third species being found on Hawaii (the Big island), Maui, and Molokai. `Amakihi can no longer be found in their former habitat on the Island of Lana`i due to extinction, but we have chosen to honor the bird on the Lanai note as a reminder to all of the delicate balance of nature on these beautiful islands.

“The Hawaii Amakihi feeds mainly on nectar from various flowers such as ohia-lehua (Metrosidero polymorpha), wiliwili (Rubus hawaiensis) and mamane (Sophora chrysophylla). It also takes invertebrates such as caterpillars, sucks juices from fruits and tree sap (from natural flow, but also from sap wells created by other species). It gleans invertebrates from bark and foliage. Nectar is taken from both native and introduced flowers. It uses its tubular tongue to drink the nectar. It hunts for spiders and insects in trees and shrubs. The Hawaii Amakihi has monogamous breeding system, and mates often remain together for several years. Some displays are reported such as chasing flights, hopping from branch to branch, and flitting displays. This behaviour is accompanied by the whisper song.”


The ’Amakihi and Ohia Lehua decorate one side of the $5 denomination of Alohacash, the other side being dedicated to that tropical favorite – a golden Pineapple.