Family Finches (Fringillidae)


Laysan Finch (Telespiza cantans)


French: Psittirostre de Laysan German: Laysankleidervogel Spanish: Palila de Laysan

Telespyza [sic] cantans

S. B. Wilson

, 1890,

Midway Island; error = Laysan Island


Formerly considered conspecific with T. ultima. Monotypic.


Laysan Atoll, in NW Hawaiian Is. Introduced on Pearl and Hermes Atoll.

Descriptive notes

19 cm; male 34·4 g, female 32·2 g, juvenile (both sexes) 34·5 g. A large finch with heavy, slightly but distinctly hooked bill. Male is bright golden-... read more


Calls include a frequency-modulated whistle resembling calls of Loxioides bailleui, and a... read more


Atoll vegetation of low shrubs, bunch-grasses and forbs. Prefers beach naupaka (Scaevola... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous. Most frequent food items include invertebrates (10·8%); seeds of kawelu (8·7%), alena (8%), the sedge makaloa (... read more


Pairs begin to form in Jan; nest-building from Mar, peak in May; renesting occurs if first nest lost. Monogamous; partners remain together... read more



Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in Laysan Island EBA. Has very small global range, and considered at risk from meteorological perturbations or accidental... read more

Recommended citation

Pratt, D. & de Juana, E. (2020). Laysan Finch (Telespiza cantans). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).