native forests

Manu Minute: The Disappearing 'Akeke'e

Jan 6, 2021
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson, taken at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, San Diego Zoo Global

The 'akeke'e is a critically endangered native bird that is endemic to Kaua'i. Like many other honeycreepers, they can only be found in high elevation forests, where cool temperatures ward off mosquito populations.

Manu Minute: Pueo, The Early Bird

Dec 23, 2020
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson

Special thanks to the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for use of their recordings in today's Manu Minute.

The Pueo, or Asio flammeus sandwichensis, is one of ten subspecies of the short-eared owl. With the exception of Australia and Antartica, the short-eared owl can be found on every continent and many Pacific islands. Collectively, it has one of the most extensive ranges in the avian world.

Manu Minute: The Warbling White-Eye

Dec 9, 2020
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson

The warbling white-eye is a non-native bird that was introduced to the Hawaiian islands from Japan in the 1920s and '30s. Over the last century, they've become the most abundant bird in the entire state.

From a distance, you might mistake a mejiro for a native 'amakihi, as both birds have olive-green plumage. However, the mejiro has a distinctive white circle around its eye, to which it owes its name.

Manu Minute: ˊApapane, The Flower Fan

Dec 2, 2020
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson

ˊApapane are the most abundant Hawaiian honeycreeper. Scientists estimate that there are over a million individuals throughout the state — about one ˊapapane per person in Hawai‘i.

Like the ˊamakihi, ˊapapane appear to be developing a genetic resistance to mosquito-borne avian malaria, which has helped them sustain their numbers. However, they are still vulnerable to habitat loss and predation.

Manu Minute: 'Ōma'o, The Sly Thrush

Nov 25, 2020
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson

The 'ōma'o  is one of two remaining thrush species in the Hawaiian Islands. The other is the puaiohi, a critically endangered species found only on Kaua'i.

'Ōma'o enjoy a diet of fruits and berries, as well as the occasional arthropod. They play a critical role in the seed dispersal of native plants, such as the 'ōhelo 'ai and 'ōlapa.

Manu Minute: 'Akiapōlā'au, The Would-Be Woodpecker

Nov 18, 2020
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson

'Akiapōlā'au get the most buzz about their beak, which is uniquely adapted to their insectivore diet.

First, they use their strong lower bill to peck holes in tree branches. Then, they use their decurved upper bill to forage for insects and larvae within the branch. If you happen upon this "Hawaiian woodpecker" at lunchtime, you might hear the tap-tap-tap sound of their beaks pecking at the trees as they hunt for food.

Manu Minute: 'Amakihi, The Forager

Nov 4, 2020
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson

With over 850,000 individual birds on Hawai'i island, the 'amakihi are among our most common honeycreeper species. Still, a sighting of this yellow singer is a treat for any birdwatcher.

Manu Minute: 'I'iwi, the Scarlet Honeycreeper

Oct 27, 2020
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson

This is the first in a series of stories about Hawaiian songbirds, their environment and their conservation. They are based on "Manu Minute," a new weekly segment on HPR's The Conversation. Have a question about Hawaiian birds or a comment on this series? Call our talkback line at 808-792-8217 and leave us your comment or question, name and email address, or email us at news@hawaiipublicradio.org with the subject line "Manu Minute."