Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hawaiian Moorhen

'Alae 'Ula in Hawaiian.  This bird is also known as the Hawaiian Moorhen, a Federally and State listed endangered species endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, particularly swamp lands on Kauai and Oahu.  The state population, at one point, precariously hovered around 300 individuals.  The Hawaiian Moorhen is also known as Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis.  This particular bird was photographed at the river mouth of the Waimea River where it pours into Waimea Bay.  These little birds largely subsist on plants, roots, seeds and algae.  However, they are omnivorous and will also eat insects, fish and small snails and crustaceans.  In old Hawaii, they believed that 'Alae 'Ula brought fire to the Hawaii, as evidenced by its bright red beak.

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