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Manu Minute: ΄Iwa, the man-of-war bird

΄Iwa, also known as great frigatebirds, live their lives far above our heads. These birds can soar for hours, days, and even months, without landing. They even have the ability to sleep while in flight!

΄Iwa get a bad rap for their feeding behaviors. They'll use their natural agility to harass other seabirds into dropping their food, which ΄iwa can then scavenge. This practice of "kleptoparasitism" earned them the name ΄iwa, which can translate to "thief," as well as the nickname “man-of-war bird." Despite their reputation, great frigatebirds do catch a majority of their own meals.

Listen to our Manu Minute to hear more about the conservation and cultural significance of the ΄iwa!

AMTJ_Manu Minute Iwa, spectrogram video.mp4

Audio credit: Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (ML32597)

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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