Meet Kauaʻi ʻōʻō, a now-extinct species of bird, endemic to the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii. The last individual ever was a male, and he was recorded singing a mating call, to a female that would never come. He died in 1987.

Kauaʻi ʻōʻō

The Kauaʻi ʻōʻō or ʻōʻōʻāʻā (Moho braccatus) was a member of the extinct genus of the ʻōʻōs (Moho) within the extinct family Mohoidae from the islands of Hawai’i. It was previously regarded as member of the Australo-Pacific honeyeaters (family Meliphagidae). This bird was endemic to the island of Kauaʻi. It was common in the subtropical forests of the island until the early twentieth century, when its decline began. Its song was last heard in 1987, and it is now extinct. The causes of its extinction include the introduction of the Polynesian rat, the domestic pig, and mosquitoes, as well as habitat destruction.

Etymology

The native Hawaiians named the bird ʻōʻō ʻāʻā, from the Hawaiian word ʻōʻō, an onomatopoeic descriptor from the s… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

14 thoughts on “Meet Kauaʻi ʻōʻō, a now-extinct species of bird, endemic to the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii. The last individual ever was a male, and he was recorded singing a mating call, to a female that would never come. He died in 1987.”

  1. UltimaCaitSith

    Sadder still: The scientists replayed the recording on different parts of the island to try and coax out any unknown birds, but the same one kept quickly showing up because it thought it found one, too.

  2. cygnet_ring

    FYI Kaua’i still has many unique endangered bird species! [This group](https://kauaiforestbirds.org/) is working to help them through education, research, captive breeding, etc.

  3. Urbane_One

    IIRC, the mating call was supposed to be a duet with a female. The only existing recording of it was sung, alone, by the last member of the species. Listening to the recording is… haunting.

  4. WellspringGames

    The final member of a species is called an “endling”

  5. wkaake

    Just in case anyone was wondering why they went extinct:

    “The bird was a cavity nester in the thickly forested canyons of Kauaʻi. Many of its relatives have also become extinct, such as the Hawaiʻi ʻōʻō, Bishop’s ʻōʻō, and Oʻahu ʻōʻō. Little is known about these extinct birds. The species may have become extinct from a large range of problems, including mosquito-transmitted diseases, which caused the species to retreat to higher ground, ultimately retreating to high-altitude montane forests in the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve.[10] Higher elevation forests lack tree cavities, so few, if any, nests could be made. In the 1970s the only known footage of the bird was filmed by John L. Sincock on Super 8 film and several song recordings were made as well (with Harold Douglas Pratt, Jr. being one of the people involved in recording the songs).[11]

    The final blow was two hurricanes coming within ten years of each other. They destroyed many of the old trees with cavities, and prohibited tree growth when the second one arrived, causing the species to disappear. The bird was last sighted in 1985, and the last sound recording was made in 1987 by David Boynton.[12] It is still believed by some that the species may survive undetected, as the species had already been proclaimed extinct twice: once in the 1940s (later rediscovered in 1950) and again from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, being rediscovered by the wildlife biologist John Sincock. However, it has a loud and distinctive call, and intensive surveys have failed to find any since 1987.”

  6. boblewo2

    this is the last recording, available on youtube: \[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDRY0CmcYNU](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDRY0CmcYNU)\]

    His species mated for life, and those pauses are where the female was supposed to chime in. This was a mating duet.

  7. Arboria_Institute

    Singing a mating call to a partner that will never respond. So a lot like my Tinder profile.

  8. DonnerPartySupplies

    >to a female that never comes

    Just like my wife.

  9. No-Pizda-For-You

    Coincidentally there was a program on PBS last evening about the decrease in biodiversity.
    Sadly, mankind reveres and values the inanimate and ignores the true treasures such as this humble songbird until it is too late.

  10. Pm_MeyourManBoobs

    Thanks for the feels 🙁

  11. European_Soccer

    Every time this gets reposted I get sad. 🙁

  12. rattlingblanketwoman

    Such a beautiful song, and definitely haunting on its own!

    Uncanny how the second portion of its name looks like worried eyes with a bead of sweat.

  13. sneerp44

    The audio is so genuinely haunting
    I don’t think there’s anything really like it

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