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Manu Minute: The Yellow-Fronted Canary

The yellow-fronted canary is native to sub-Saharan Africa, where they populate open woodlands and  grasslands in great numbers. Not to be confused with the Saffron finch, these small birds only grow to be about four or five inches in length and have grey markings on their head and wings.

So how does a bird that's barely the size of an apple banana from the opposite side of the world make it to Hawai'i? Oh, the usual way.

Because of their cheerful song and pleasant appearance, yellow-fronted canaries was first brought to the islands as a cagebird. Then one was released, potentially on accident, from an aviary near Koko Crater on Oahu in the 1960s. Around the same time, they were also released, probably on purpose, on Pu'u Wa'awa'a Ranch on the west side of Hawai'i island. They've since become a permanent feature on those two islands, and have also been sighted on Molokai and Maui.

Special thanks to the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for today's field recordings.

Patrick Hart interests in the ecology and conservation of Hawaiian forests and forest birds stem from years of living in a primitive field camp as a graduate student in the 1990’s at Hakalau Forest National wildlife refuge.
Savannah Harriman-Pote rejoined The Conversation in 2021 after interning for Hawaiʻi Public Radio in the summers of 2018 and 2019. She also produces HPR's podcast Manu Minute in collaboration with The University of Hawaii at Hilo. She was born and raised on the Big Island, and she collects public radio mugs.
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson is the Lab Manager & Research Technician in the Hart Lab/Listening Observatory for Hawaiian Ecosystems (LOHE) Bioacoustics Lab. She researches the ecology, bioacoustics, and conservation of our native Hawaiian forests, birds, and bats.
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