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Manu Minute: The critically-endangered kiwikiu

With barely more than a hundred remaining individuals in the wild, the endemic kiwikiu is one of the rarest birds in the world. They are found only in a tiny patch of rainforest on Haleakalā, out of the reach of mosquitos that carry avian malaria.

These birds have come so close to fading out of existence that even their original name in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi has been lost. The Hawaiian Language Lexicon Committee gave the Maui parrotbill the name kiwikiu in 2010, and Kumu Samuel M. 'Ohukani'ōhi'a Gon III inaugurated the new name with a mele inoa.

"Kiwikiu" recognizes the birds' curved bill and whistle, as well as the weather where they live.

The LOHE Lab, in collaboration with Haleakalā National Park and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is working to design a machine learning algorithm that can detect the songs of these birds through automated microphones placed in the forest. You can hear their song for yourself on today's Manu Minute.

AMTJ_Kiwikiu Spectrogram Video.mp4

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 talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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