Hawaiʻi ʻŌʻō


Hawaiʻi ʻŌʻō
Hawaiʻi ʻŌʻō
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Infraorder: Passerida
Family: Mohoidae
Genus: Moho
Species: M. nobilis
Binomial name
Moho nobilis
Merrem, 1786

The Hawaiʻi ʻŌʻō (Moho nobilis) is a member of the extinct genus of the ʻŌʻōs (Moho) within the extinct family Mohoidae. It was previously regarded as member of the Australo-Pacific honeyeaters (Meliphagidae).[2]

Contents

Description

Illustration from 1911

The 'Hawaiʻi ʻŌʻō was first described by Blasius Merrem in 1786. It had an overall length of 32 centimetres (13 in), wing length of 11–11.5 centimetres (4.3–4.5 in), and tail length of up to 19 centimetres (7.5 in). The colour of its plumage was glossy black with a brown shading at the belly. It was further characterized by yellowish tufts at the axillaries. It had some yellowish plumes on its rump, but lacked yellow thigh feathers like the Molokaʻi ʻŌʻō, and also lacked the whitish edgings on its tail feathers like the Oʻahu ʻŌʻō. However it had the largest yellow plumes on its wings out of all the species of ʻŌʻō.

Extinction

At the time of discovery by Europeans, it was still relatively common on the Big Island, but that was soon to change. The Hawaiʻi ʻŌʻō was extensively hunted by Native Hawaiians. Its striking plumage was used for ʻaʻahu aliʻi (robes) and ʻahu ʻula (capes) of aliʻi (Hawaiian nobility). The Europeans too saw the striking beauty of this bird and hunted many of them for specimens in personal collections. Some were even caught and were put in cages to be sold as song birds only to live for a few weeks or days before diseases from mosquitoes had befallen them. The decline of this bird was hastened by both natives and Europeans by the introduction of the musket which allowed hunter and collectors to shoot birds down from far away places and from great heights and numbers. As late as 1898, hunters were still able to kill over a thousand of the birds, but after that year the ʻŌʻō population declined rapidly.[3] The birds became too rare to be shot in any great quantities, but continued to be found for nearly 30 years. The last known sighting was in 1934 on the slopes of Mauna Loa.

See also

  • The name of the volcano Puʻu ʻŌʻō is often translated as "Hill of the ʻŌʻō-Bird", referring to this species.

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2004). Moho nobilis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 16 October 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is listed as extinct.
  2. ^ Fleischer, Robert C.; Helen F. James; Storrs L. Olson (2008-12-11). "Convergent Evolution of Hawaiian and Australo-Pacific Honeyeaters from Distant Songbird Ancestors". Current Biology (Cell Press) 18 (24): 1927–1931. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.10.051. PMID 19084408. 
  3. ^ Henshaw, HW (1902) Birds of the Hawaiian Islands, p. 71.

External links

  • 3D view of specimens RMNH 110.044 and RMNH 110.045 (formerly RMNH 2142) at Naturalis, Leiden (requires QuickTime browser plugin).

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