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Manu Minute: The moaning wedge-tailed shearwater

Ann Tanimoto-Johnson Uau kani, AMT_5180.jpg
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson
/
HPR
΄Ua΄u kani, also known as wedge-tailed shearwaters, are mainly dark brown-grey with light-colored white underparts. As their name describes, they have wedge-shaped tails. Their bills are long, slender, and slightly hooked. Their wingspan is over 3 feet.

Wedge-tailed shearwaters are medium-large seabirds that make their homes along the coasts of islands throughout the Pacific and Indian oceans.

In Hawaiʻi, they're called ʻuaʻu kani, and their population is close to 300,000. Most live either on the Northwest Hawaiian Islands or on offshore islets around the main Hawaiian Islands such as Mānana and Moku Manu. However, they have had some success nesting in more urban areas.

Like the noio, fisher-people use the hunting patterns of ʻuaʻu kani to track predatory fish like ahi, aku, and marlin. ʻUaʻu kani don't eat these large fish, but instead feed on the smaller fish like larval goatfish, mackerel scad, and flying fish that predatory fish drive to the surface.

ʻUaʻu kani are known for their low, moaning calls. Take a listen with today's Manu Minute!

AMTJ_Manu Minute Uau kani Spectrogram Video.mp4

Audio credit: Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (ML999)

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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