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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.

Manu Minute, Manu-o-ku Spectrogram video.mp4

Audio credit: Chandler Robbins/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (ML32586)

Patrick Hart is the host of HPR's Manu Minute. He runs the Listening Observatory for Hawaiian Ecosystems (LOHE) Lab at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.
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 is a producer for The Conversation and Manu Minute. Contact her at
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