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Manu Minute: Kauaʻi's last thrush

Ann Tanimoto-Johnson Puaiohi at KBCC, AMT_7926.jpg
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson
/
KBCC
The puaiohi is also known as the small Kauaʻi thrush. While not the most eye-catching songbird on the Garden Isle, they've got a distinct raspy call with trills and whistles.

The puaiohi and the ʻōmaʻo are the last surviving members of the thrush family in the islands. The puaiohi calls Kauaʻi home. Like the kiwikiu, its territory is restricted to a small patch of rain forest on the Alakaʻi Plateau, where they nest along the banks of streams.

Researchers and conservationists have worked for decades to bring the critically-endangered puaiohi back from the brink of extinction. A captive breeding program released almost 200 birds back into the wild, though not all survived. Their population currently stands at about 500 individuals. While that number seems to be increasing, their future is still precarious.

The puaiohi isn't the most eye-catching songbird on the Garden Isle, but it does an important job. It is one of the best native seed dispersers among all of the bird species on Kauaʻi, a critical role that ensures the survival of our native forests.

AMTJ_Manu Minute, Puaiohi spectrogram video(1).mp4

Patrick Hart interests in the ecology and conservation of Hawaiian forests and forest birds stem from years of living in a primitive field camp as a graduate student in the 1990’s at Hakalau Forest National wildlife refuge.
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 also produces HPR's podcast Manu Minute in collaboration with The University of Hawaii at Hilo. She was born and raised on the Big Island, and she collects public radio mugs.
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