Birds of Hawaii

'Apteribis' model reconstruction 'Moa-nalo,' Artist’s conception of moa-nalo from O’ahu, and Maui Male and female 'Moho bishopi' Three species of 'Myadestes,' kāma’o, oloma’o, and ōma’o Kauai “akialoa ('Akialoa stejnegeri') painted by John Gerrard Keulemans, with a long down-curving bills.
	 The male (1) is olive-yellow on top and yellow below. The juvenile (2) is gray on top and white below.
	 The female (3) is gray on top and yellow below. 'Akialoa ellisiana,' a Hawaiian honeycreeper with a long down-curving bill, dark brown on top and light orange on the chin and breast.

And counting

In addition to 73 species of mollusks, 33 species of insects, and one bat species, we have lost 28 species of birds endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Five more species of birds are possibly extinct.


A small flightless ibis occupying the forest floor eating snails endemic to Maui Nui fragmented by rising seas forming Maui, Lāna’i, and Moloka’i.


Moa-nalo, the “lost fowl,” was lost before James Cook arrived. We have found the bones of four species: turtle-jawed moa-nalo on Kaua’i, small-billed moa-nalo on Maui, O’ahu moa-nalo on O’ahu, and the large-billed moa-nalo on Maui, Lāna’i and Moloka’i. Moa-nalo ate leaves, including the small fronds of ferns, filling the ecological niche usually filled by deer or goats. They were devastated by feral pigs introduced by the Polynesians.

Bishop’s ‘ō‘ō

“It fed on nectar from the flowers of Hawaiian lobelioids.” Hawaiians hunted them for their yellow feathers to make capes for the nobility. Devastated by deforestation, invasive predation, and avian malaria from introduced mosquitoes it was last seen in 1904.

Kāma’o and oloma’o

Endemic to Kaua’i, the kāma’o or large Kaua’i thrush, grew up to 8 inches long. Endemic to Maui, Lāna’i, and Moloka’i, the oloma’o grew up to 7 inches long. These were small dark solitaires that quivered their wings and fed primarily on fruit and insects. Their songs had complex melodies composed of “flute-like notes, liquid warbles, and gurgling whistles.” The kāma’o added “buzzy trills.” Endemic to the island of Hawaii, the ‘ōma’o or Hawaiian thrush has not become extinct.

Kaua‘i ‘akialoa

Endemic to Kaua‘i, this yellow finch known as a Hawaiian honeycreeper ate insects and nectar of lobelias and ‘ohi‘a blossoms. It was decimated by avian malaria carried by mosquitos introduced by whaling ships and by clearing of its forests.

Akialoa ellisiana

Endemic to O‘ahu, this Hawaiian honeycreeper ate mainly insects, but also, with its long down-curved beak, sipped nectar. It was decimated by avian influenza carried by mosquitos and by clearing of its forests.