Manu Minute: 'Alalā Find a New Home in Hilo
We've talked about the velvety-black 'alalā before on Manu Minute. But today we have some exciting news to share! Two of these incredibly rare endemic birds — named Loli'ana and Pano Pau — now have a home at the Pana'ewa Zoo in Hilo.
Although the 'alalā is called the Hawaiian Crow, it's more closely related to ravens.
Once common on Hawai'i Island, their numbers drastically decreased in the 20th century due to habitat loss, hunting, and disease. None were left in the wild by the late 1990s.
Today, they are one of the world’s rarest birds — a total of 132 'alalā remain at two breeding facilities in Hawaiʻi managed by the San Diego Zoo.
The UH Hilo LOHE Bioacoustics Lab is recording the vocalizations of Loli'ana and Pano Pau to see if and how their behaviors will change over time in their new home at the Pana'ewa Zoo.
"One amazing thing about corvids like our 'alalā is that they are known to be among the most intelligent birds in the world," says Patrick Hart, host of Manu Minute and head of the LOHE Lab. "They are also what we call 'lifetime learners' in that they can learn new behaviors or vocalizations throughout their life... Most other bird species either have their vocalizations genetically hard-wired in them (and so they usually sound similar to each other), or have only a small window of 'song learning' in which they can learn their vocalizations from their parents and other birds around them."
"Since 'alalā are in the lifetime learner group, this means that the new environment that the 'alalā are in may have big impacts on their behaviors and vocalizations."
Listen to today's Manu Minute to hear brand new songs from our 'alalā in Panaʻewa!