In the Hawaiian language, the Hawaiian Crow is known as ‘alalā. These birds are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and were once found across the main islands of Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, and Maui. The only place they can be found now is in the forests of Hawaiʻi Island. They are considered one of the most endangered crow species in the world with only about 150 individuals remaining in the wild.
Although small in numbers, these remarkable birds play an important role in their ecosystem. In this blog post, we’ll explore everything there is to know about Hawaiian Crows!
Hawaiian Crow Description
The Hawaiian Crow, also known as the Alala, is an endangered bird endemic to Hawaiian forests. It is a corvid species with distinctively shaggy feathering and a curved bill unique to its appearances. Hawaiian Crows are approximately 18-inches long with black feathers and white eyes, weighing approximately 15 ounces. They mainly eat fruit but will feed on insects and small invertebrates when necessary.
One of the Hawaiian Crow’s most remarkable features is their complex social behavior, which includes cooperative breeding and nesting within large colonies of birds. Their declining population is attributed to multiple factors including habitat loss, introduced predators and nontropical diseases. Steps have been taken to safeguard Hawaiian Crows both in captivity and in their native forested areas in the hope of preserving this species for generations to come.
Hawaiian Crow Habitat
Hawaiian Crows, or Alala, have long inhabited the Hawaiian Islands and were originally found throughout the Hawaiian archipelago. The Hawaiian Crow, or ‘Alalā was historically found in both native and disturbed habitats, but is now found only in core habitat areas on the Big Island of Hawai’i. The Hawaiian Crow is once again beginning to return to high elevation forests with diverse tree heights that provide forage resources such as insects and fruits.
Once frequenting drier shrublands located along coastal areas, Hawaiian Crows now nest within lush forest canopies up to 9,000 feet above sea level. And while their primary habitat consists of Hawaiian ohia tree-dominated rainforests, Hawaiian Crows are always adapting to changing conditions and will also inhabit wet Christmas berry (Naupaka kahakai) stands and other non-native vegetation as well as generally higher elevations that offer more suitable coverage from potential predators.
Hawaiian Crow Diet
Hawaiian Crows, also known as Alala, are endemic to Hawaii and mainly consume Hawaiian fruit and invertebrates such as insects, earthworms, and spiders. They will occasionally eat small vertebrates like lizards and small birds. Hawaiian Crows are unlike other Hawaiian forest birds, who mainly focus on plant-derived foods such as fruits and seeds. As Hawaiian Crows have adapted to a food scarce environment, they often scavenge for carrion in both rainforest and dryland habitats; this makes them beneficial to the Hawaiian ecosystem by helping keep it clean.
Hawaiian Crow Size
Hawaiian Crows, or ʻAlalā, are known for their remarkable size. Hawaiian Crows measure between 18 and 20 inches long, making them one of the largest non-predatory birds in Hawai’i. Their average adult wingspan is around 35 inches wide, and they can weigh up to 385 grams. Hawaiian Crows have a black body with some white at the base of neck feathers and on the forehead. They also possess short but strong curved beaks which are incredibly well suited for cracking open hard nuts and seeds. These unique features make Hawaiian Crows stand out from other Hawaiian bird species and make them an important part of Hawaiian culture and nature.
Hawaiian Crow Lifespan
Hawaiian Crows have a lifespan of 11 to 15 years in the wild, and their individual life span can be up to 21 years in captivity. Hawaiian Crows are incredibly unique with distinct black feathers, and darker coloration on their body, wings and back. Hawaiian Crows inhabit forests of Big Island and apart from the Hawaiian Islands, they can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
It is important that measures are taken to protect Hawaiian Crows from losing their habitat, as this could significantly reduce their life expectancy. Hawaiian Crows face many threats to their wellbeing due to attacks from invasive species such as rats. Unless appropriate conservation efforts are taken soon, Hawaiian Crows may continue to decline in population drastically
Hawaiian Crow Speed
Hawaiian crows are known for their remarkable speed. They can fly at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, and they have been observed swooping down from the sky to intercept prey in a matter of seconds. This impressive speed is mainly used when hunting, but it also gives Hawaiian crows an edge over predators. The quick movements combined with their sharp beaks and claws make them formidable hunters that can easily outpace most other birds.
Hawaiian Crow Behavior
Hawaiian Crows (Corvus hawaiiensis) are fascinating birds with remarkable behaviors. Hawaiian Crows that live in flocks make distinct calls that they use to communicate with each other, such as when they spot food or danger nearby. Hawaiian Crows are also known for their cooperative behavior when it comes to finding food. Multiple Hawaiian Crows will work together to collect food, opening a variety of nuts and insects that require different methods to access their resources.
Hawaiian Crows have even been observed using tools when searching for food, making them one of the few members of the Corvid family to do so in the wild. Understanding Hawaiian Crow behavior is an ongoing area of research as scientists strive to unravel how this species interacts and thrives in its native habitat.
Hawaiian Crow Hunting
Hawaiian crows hunt in groups, often working together to flush out prey from hiding places. This teamwork gives them a greater chance of success than if they were hunting alone. Additionally, the group can provide protection for any younger or weaker members who may be at risk from predators. Hawaiian crows are very important in the Hawaiian ecosystem, helping to keep populations of smaller animals in check by acting as natural predators. As they are currently endangered species due to
The Hawaiian Crow or ‘Alalā is a species of crow that used to be found throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Today, however, this bird is only found in captivity. The reasons for the decline of the Hawaiian Crow are many and varied, but include loss of habitat due to human development, invasive species, and disease. While there are currently no plans to reintroduce the Hawaiian Crow into the wild, scientists hope that one day this will be possible and that the ‘Alalā will once again grace the forests of Hawaii.
Frequently Asked Question