ʻAlalā Basics

Who am I?

Description

  • The ‘Alalā is a native bird that has black feathers and a large bill.
  • It weighs as much as a football and is over 1.5 feet long from bill to tail.
  • Very intelligent and by far the loudest bird in the forest, it can make incredible human-like cries, screams and moans.
Click here to listen to ʻalalā calls

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Where do I live?

Habitat

In the past, ‘Alalā lived in dry and semi-dry forests in South Kohala, Kona, Kaʻū and into Puna at 1,000 – 8,200 feet in elevation.

These koa and ʻŌhiʻa forests on the slopes of Hualālai and Mauna Loa had a lot of fruiting plants in the understory.

The large amount of understory shrubs provided food and cover to hide from predators.

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What do I eat?

Diet

The diet of the ‘Alalā includes:

  • Over 30 species of native fruits
  • Eggs and nestlings of other birds
  • Insects
  • Some nectar, flowers, and dead animals

Their favorite foods include native fruits like ‘Ōlapa, ‘Ie‘ie and Hō‘awa. In fact, ʻAlalā are an important seed disperser for large-fruited native plants.

Puuwaawaa (146)

Hōʻawa fruit