Re: birding-aus Hawaiian Honeyeaters

To: "Michael Todd" <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Hawaiian Honeyeaters
From: Ronald Orenstein <>
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 21:37:17 -0500

A few minor corrections to Michael's post: 

When Europeans
>settled Hawaii there were a number of Hawaiian honeyeaters, the O'o
>(pronounced Oh-oh- rather appropriate in the long run) and the Mamo
>(pronounced Mum-oh). 

No.  The O'os were indeed honeyeaters but the Mamos were not - they were
Hawaiian Honeycreepers (Drepanidini), which are now regarded as modified
Cardueline finches.  The Po'o Uli, also mentioned in 
Michael's post, is also (probably) in this group.  There was, however,
another genus of true Honeyeater in Hawaii in historic times, Chaetoptila,
represented by the Kioea, a large wattle-bird-like bird from the big island
of Hawaii last reported in the 1860s.  Other species are known from
subfossil remains.

Off the top of my head there were four species of O'o-
>the Hawaii O'o, Bishop's O'o (on Maui), Oahu O'o and the Kauiai O'o. All are
>now almost certainly extinct.

Bishop's O'o is actually known by specimen evidence only from Molokai.  An
O'o was sighted on Maui in 1981; in the absence of specimens or photographs
it is assumed to represent a Maui population of Bishop's O'o, which just
possibly still survives.

 The Kauiai O'o was the last to have gone
>extinct with I think a lone bird being known of in the early 1980's. 

The last sighting of the Kauai O'o was in the late 1980s.  It is, however,
probably now extinct.

>with the Mamos they were predominantly glossy black birds with tufts of
>white and yellow plumage.

Actually the plumage tufts so prized for feather cloaks were yellow, though
some o'os also had white markings, particularly on the tail.  The Mamo (but
not the Black Mamo of Molokai) had yellow in the plumage, but not erectile
tufts as in the (unrelated) O'os.

Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          
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