ʻAlalā are the sole surviving member of the corvid family in Hawaiʻi. Due to a variety of threats in the wild, these birds are only found in captive breeding programs.


Timeline of the decline of the ʻAlalā population in the wild:
Captive released Juvenile Alala in the wild at McCandless Ranch

Before Western contact- Up to five species of corvid found on most main Hawaiian islands

1890s – Found throughout its historic range

1900s – Declines already observed

1950s – Only small areas of the historical range occupied by ʻalalā

1976 – Only 76 birds, 3,000 – 6,000 ft. el., 4 areas: Hualālai, Hōnaunau, Honomalino, Kaʻū Forest Reserve

1991/1992 – 1 at Hualālai, 12 at Hōnaunau/McCandless Ranch

1993-1998- Captive ʻalalā released

2002 – A single pair of ʻAlalā was last observed in 2002 in South Kona

2016-2019- 29 ʻAlalā released in Puʻu Makaʻala Natural Area Reserve on Hawaiʻi Island

2020- Five surviving released birds are returned to conservation breeding program. Planning for future release ares on Maui Nui and Hawaiʻi Island begins.


ʻAlalā play an important role in the forests where it lived. It was an important seed disperser for many native plants. It ate the fruits of these plants, flew to another location, and left behind the seeds that had passed through its digestive tract. Without the ʻAlalā, these native plants can have a harder time spreading and reproducingsince some plants have higher germination rates after passing through the ʻalalā digestive tract than simply falling to the forest floor.
Due to a sharp drop in their population, a handful of ‘Alalā were brought into captivity in the 1970s. These birds helped form the beginning of the captive breeding program.
As of 2022, there were over 115 birds in two breeding facilities managed by the Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program (San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance).