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Manu Minute: ʻAʻo, the tuna bird

'A'o, Newells-shearwater, Alex Wang.jpg
Alex Wang
'A'o are mainly spotted offshore foraging in mixed-species flocks. Both males and females have dark-colored backs with white undersides and underwings.

ʻAʻo are endemic seabirds that serve important functions on both water and land.

ʻAʻo hunt small fish and squid driven to the surface of the ocean by predatory fish like tuna. Fisherpeople use ʻaʻo to locate these larger fish, earning ʻaʻo the nickname "tuna birds."

ʻAʻo nest amid ferns and tree roots on steep mountainous slopes, where their guano provides much-needed nutrients to native plant life.

Predation and fallout have decreased ʻaʻo populations, which are federally listed as threatened.

AMTJ_Manu Minute_ 'A'o Spectrogram Video (XC416522 Tim Holland).mp4

Audio credit:  Tim Holland, Xeno Canto (XC416522)

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 the energy and climate change reporter.
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