When a species has a native range that is confined to an isolated patch of land or body of water, it is known as an endemic species. What makes an endemic species distinct from species that are simply native to an area is their uniqueness: They are found nowhere else on Earth. They are almost always highly specialized to fulfill a particular niche in their ecosystem. For example, there are frog species that live on just one mountain — and nowhere else on Earth.

Their limited range and specialized lifestyles makes endemic species especially sensitive to external threats, putting them at greater risk of extinction. For instance, Hawaiian honeycreepers — a diverse group of songbirds found only on the Hawaiian islands — are nearly all threatened with extinction today due to habitat loss, invasive predators, and disease.

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