Kauai O'o a'a

Kauai O'o a'a

    The extinct O'o a'a [Moho braccatus (Cashin, 1855)] is one of the formerly numerous species of  Hawai'ian Honeyeaters, formerly referred to the family Meliphagidae but now recognized as a separate lineage in its own family, Mohoidae (Passeriformes). Note the modification of the beak for nectar feeding, and the yellow flashes on the legs of the male (below). Distinct species of the O'o a'a were found on the islands of Hawai'i, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai, all of which are now extinct. The Kauai form was declared Endangered in 1973, at which time there were 36 birds remaining: the female of the last breeding pair disappeared in 1982, the male was last heard in 1987, and a thorough search of its habitat in the Alaka'i Swamp showed it to be extinct by 1989. Causes of extinction are habitat destruction and introduction of exotic species, including egg-eating mammals (rats) and birds infected with mosquito-borne malaria.


All text material ©2012 by Steven M. Carr