O’ahu Honeyeater

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Image:O'ahu oo.JPG

Hawaiian Name: Oʻahu ʻŌʻō
Common Name: O’ahu Honeyeater
Scientific Name: Moho apicalis

Size: 6 inches (30.5 cm)

Habitat: Oceania; Endemic to O’ahu. Hawaiian Islands (USA). Its habitat was the mountain forests on O‘ahu.

Status: Extinct (1837). Global Population: 0 mature individuals left. The reasons for its extinction were probably avian diseases caused by introduced mosquitos, habitat destruction by cattle and goats, deforestation, predation by introduced rats, and hunting (their plumage was used in robes for the Hawaiian nobility).

Diet: Flower nectar and fruit. ʻŌʻōs forage in the lofty branches of the forest canopy.

Breeding: The females were smaller than males. The plumage was predominantly sooty black. The tail feathers were brown and had, with the exception of the two central tail feathers, white tips. Further characteristics were the white feather tufts under the axillaries and the two narrow central tail feathers which changed into fine hair-like or fibrous tips. The flanks and the under tail coverts were colored deeply yellow. The bill and the tarsus were black.

Its biology and nesting behaviors were not well-studied.

Cool Facts: While in the Hawaiian Islands in 1825 as the naturalist on board HMS Blonde, Andrew Bloxam, first saw live Oʻahu ʻŌʻō s which were brought to him by locals. He preserved one specimen obtained in this way. He wrote in his diary (not published until much later): "They are now very scarce in all the islands. I did not see even one in the different excursions I made, & the natives asked a high price for the very few they brought to me." Bloxam misidentified his birds as the species now called Moho nobilis.

John Gould scientifically named and described the O‘ahu ‘Ō‘ō in 1860, when it was already regarded as vanished for 23 years. The last reliable evidence was a collection of about three birds by German naturalist Ferdinand Deppe in 1837. He found these specimens in the hills behind the capital Honolulu.

After surveys, led for example by ornithologist Robert C. L. Perkins, failed to find the bird between 1880 and 1890, it was described as almost extinct. Today there are seven specimens in the museum collections in Berlin, London, New York City and Cambridge (Massachusetts).

Named after an imitation of the loud, harsh 'oh-oh' call it made. The brilliant yellow feathers were extensively used by the native Hawaiians to make royal feather work. The royal bird-catcher guild used a sticky substance spread on the branches of an ohia tree to trap this bird, plucked a few of the yellow feathers and released the bird.

Found in Songbird ReMix Hawai'i

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