Manu Minute: The Two Tail-Feathered Koa'e Kea
We're back to seabirds today! And we've got quite the looker. The koa'e kea is one of the most distinctive birds you can spot in the main Hawaiian islands.
Its English name, white-tailed tropicbird, references one of its most notable features — its two long, streaming tail feathers. These feathers are purely ornamental, and they're used in feather-working around the world.
The koa'e kea that call Hawai'i home will often fly hundreds of miles out to sea to find food. Unlike most seabirds, koa'e kea prefer to forage alone or in small groups.
It's quite a sight to behold — koa'e kea will plunge into the water from high altitudes to capture tiny fish and squid.
What does such a spectacular bird sound like? Well, kind of like a frog with a chest cold.
Listen to our Manu Minute to hear the raspy croaks of the koa'e kea for yourself!
Audio credit: Doug Pratt/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (ML5562)