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Hawaiian Crow - BirdForum Opus

Skullwild.png The species Hawaiian Crow is extinct in the wild.

Alternative name: 'Alala

Corvus hawaiiensis


48-52 cm (19-20½ in). A medium-sized crow.

  • Brownish-black plumage, with long, bristly throat feathers
  • Black bill, feet and legs

Sexes similar. The species is now extinct in the wild, and only survives in captive breeding programs.


Endemic to Hawaii and probably also Maui.

The species is now extinct in the wild (the last bird being seen in 2002), and only survives in captive breeding programs on Hawai'i and Maui. Prior to this, the species was recently only found in the central Kona district of Hawai'i. One attempt to reintroduce captive-raised 'alala in Kona during the late 1990s, was fatal for most of the birds due to predation by 'io and toxiplasmosis. There are efforts to restore forests in Kona for future reintroduction of the 'alala, including the reintroduction and protection of food plants, if the breeding programs can produce enough birds. The captive-raised birds will need to be numerous and carefully raised to be viable in the wild, as the 'alala lived in large flocks which depended on co-operation and learning within the flock to survive.

Fossil remains indicate that it previously occurred in relative abundance on all the main islands, along with two other extinct crow species. The reasons for its extinction are not fully understood. It is thought that habitat alteration, including loss of food plant species, and possibly introduced disease was probably a significant factor in the species' decline. The 'alala was also shot as a nuisance bird for many years.

Breeding behavior has been seen on some reintroduced birds on Hawaii, but no nests.


This is a monotypic species[1].
May be closely related to Common Raven.


Their traditional habitat was varied wet and dry forests.



Omnivorous. They eat a variety of fruit, nuts, flower nectar, insects, spiders, carrion, eggs and nestlings.


Breeding season was from March to June. Stick nests were built in tree creepers; they were lined with moss, grass, rootlets and other fine material. The clutch consisted of 5 eggs and were incubated by both parents.


A resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Sept 2017)

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