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Manu Minute: Honolulu's Own Manu-o-Kū

Ann Tanimoto-Johnson, Manu-o-ku with chick, AMT_0019.jpg
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson
Manu-o-Kū with chick.

The streets of Downtown Honolulu might not be the first place you'd think to bird watch, but at least one very special bird calls this city home: the indigenous manu-o-Kū, also known as the white tern.

These medium-sized seabirds are entirely white, with the exception of their large, dark eyes, encircled by black rings. Their otherworldly appearance has earned them the nicknames fairy tern and angel tern. Their song is far from heavenly, however — listen for their throaty grrich-grrich-grrich.

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.
Savannah Harriman-Pote rejoined The Conversation in 2021 after interning for Hawaiʻi Public Radio in the summers of 2018 and 2019. She completed her undergraduate degree in International Relations at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, during which time she worked for WMHC and Mount Holyoke News. She has also worked with the audio documentary series Outer Voices and National Geographic.