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GALLERIES > BIRDS > PASSERIFORMES > MELIPHAGIDAE > KAUAI OO [Moho braccatus]

Kauai Oo Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The Kaua"?i "??"?? Moho braccatus, also known as the "?O"?o"?a"?a, is an extinct Hawaiian honeyeater which was endemic to the island of Kauai. It was common in the subtropical forests of the island until the early twentieth century, when its decline began. Its song was last heard in 1987 and it has since been declared extinct. The causes of its extinction include the introduction of the black rat, the common pig, and mosquitoes carrying avian diseases, as well as habitat destruction.

Adult and juvenile Moho braccatus

This bird was among the smallest of the Hawaiian honeyeaters, if not the smallest species, at just over 20 cm in length. It was black or very dark shiny brown with sparse yellow leg feathers and faint white banding on the breast and underwings. It was named the "?o"?o"?a"?a by the natives which means dwarf O'o. Like other honeyeaters it had a sharp, slightly curved bill for sampling nectar. Its favored nectar sources were Lobelia species and the 'ohi?a lehua tree, and it also ate small invertebrates and fruit.

The bird was a cavity nester in the thickly forested canyons of Kauai. Many of its relatives have also become extinct, such as the Hawai"?i "??"??, Moloka"?i "??"??, and O"?ahu "??"??. Little is known about these extinct birds. The species may have become extinct from a large range of problems, including mosquito transmission diseases, which caused the species to retreat to higher ground. Higher elevation forests lack tree cavities, so few, if any, nests could be made. The final blow was two hurricanes coming within ten years of each other. They destroyed many of the old trees with cavities, and prohibited tree growth when the second one arrived, causing the species to disappear in 1987. However the species may survive undetected as the species had been proclaimed extinct twice: once in the 1940s (later rediscovered in 1950) and again from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, being rediscovered by Sabo.





                                     



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