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Introducing the 2018 Bird of the Year!

It’s that time again, to launch a year honoring a special bird. This time around we’re doing something a little different.

With Hawaii’s inclusion in the ABA Area in 2016, the state’s extraordinary native birdlife was added to the ABA Checklist, a process that was finalized in 2017. Birders in the United States and Canada, and indeed those around the world who keep an ABA list, were suddenly introduced with Akekees and Apapanes and Akohekohes, a whole menagerie of exotic looking birds with even more exotic sounding names.

And while there certainly are a great many spectacular honeycreepers on the Hawaiian Islands, if there is one prototypical Hawaiian honeycreeper it’s the Iiwi (ee-EE-vee). There could scarcely be a better representative of the family to give the full Bird of the Year treatment and fully welcome Hawaii into the ABA Area.

We’d also like to thank our 2018 Bird of the Year artist, H. Douglas Pratt, for this beautiful painting that will grace the cover of the February 2018 issue of Birding magazine.

Get more information on this bird at our Bird of the Year page, and look for an interview with Doug Pratt on the next episode of the American Birding Podcast and in the February issue of Birding.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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  • John Weigel

    Wonderful choice! The quintessential surviving Hawaiian native, and now my favourite ABA area bird – can’t wait for the T-shirt!

  • Rick Wright

    Fantastic choice, great painting!

    • Ted Floyd

      Rick, I really like your blog post from this morning:

      But I can’t figure out to post a comment (a question, actually). So I’ll do it here. My question: Can you show us Iiwi art by indigenous/Polynesian artists from before 1778? (Is that mainly yellow object in your blog post one such artwork?)

      • Rick Wright

        There’s a mass of Hawaiian featherwork on the web — much of it without dates, though. Have a look at this:

        • Ted Floyd

          Well, without *precise* dates. But a lot of it is indeed rather early, incl. “mid-18th century.” The art is depressingly extravagant, if you catch my drift. Anyhow, thanks!

  • John Gluth

    Cool choice and great depiction by Doug Pratt (one of the best bird artists out there).
    But, while Iiwi IS an ABA Area bird, it’s technically NOT a “North American bird” as stated in the opening sentence.

    • One might argue that politically speaking it is, but you’re right, it’s confusing. I’ve edited the line.

  • Chris Warren

    Fantastic, I love that Hawaii is now part of the ABA area. This is partially selfish given that I live in HI and its pretty hard to add to your ABA list living outside of the area! One note, the plural of Hawaiian bird names do not get an “s”, e.g. “I just saw three Akohekohe and twelve I’iwi.” Pronunciation can be challenging at first but Hawaiian is more straight forward than English. Just pronounce each letter, e.g. Akekee is Ah-kah-kay-A

  • Madeline

    Link to the BOY page is actually

    Cool bird!!

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