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Psittirostra

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Psittirostra

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ʻOʻu
Conservation status: Critical (Possibly Extinct)
 
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
 
Phylum: Chordata
 
Class: Aves
 
Order: Passeriformes
 
Family: Drepanididae
 
Genus: Psittirostra
 
Species: P. psittacea
 
Binomial name
Psittirostra psittacea
(Gmelin, 1789)

The Ou, (or ʻOʻu - the name is pronounced like "oh-uh"[1]) (Psittirostra psittacea), is a highly endangered, if not extinct, bird endemic to the Hawaiʻian islands. Though formerly widespread on the six largest islands of that group, this Hawaiʻian honeycreeper declined precipitously from the turn of the 20th century. The last confirmed sighting was in 1989 on Kauaʻi. It is almost certainly extinct there, but unconfirmed reports occasionally are received from the areas of Big Island above Kilauea volcano. The largest and most secure population above Waiākea was driven from its habitat in 1984 when the area was devastated by a lava flow from Mauna Loa.

The ʻOʻu was one of the most mobile honeycreeper species. Although it was not very active and usually slow-moving, it had remarkable stamina and when flying, would cover great distances. It is one of the few Hawaiʻian endemics that did occur on all the major islands at one time and did not differentiate into subspecies, suggesting that birds crossed between islands on a regular basis. Also, there was considerable seasonal movement between different altitudes according to the availability of the species' favorite food, the bracts and fruit of the ʻieʻie. This probably was the species' undoing, as it thus came in contact with mosquitoes transmitting avian malaria and fowlpox, which are exceptionally lethal to most honeycreepers.

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ Pronunciation: Care should be taken in pronouncing the name. ʻOʻo ("oh-oh") refers to another, unrelated kind of bird, while ʻUʻu ("uh-uh") may mean "to masturbate". The Hawaiʻian "u" is pronounced IPA: [u], not [ə] as in most American English dialects.

External links


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