Endangered birds successfully transported to Kauai Forest Reserve - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Endangered birds successfully transported to Kauai Forest Reserve

The puaiohi, also known as the small Kauai thrush, can easily fit in the palm of the hand. The puaiohi, also known as the small Kauai thrush, can easily fit in the palm of the hand.

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Twelve endangered puaiohi birds were successfully transported from the Big Island to the Alakai Wilderness Preserve on Kauai Monday.

The birds, also known as the small Kauai thrush, were placed into two onboard carrying cases and buckled into passenger seats onboard Hawaiian airlines. 

On Kauai, the birds were placed into a protected acclimation aviary where they will live for a week before being released into the surrounding forest.

Altogether, 23 puaiohi, have been transferred and released into their native environment on Kauai over the past week.

The flock of birds, one of which can easily fit in the palm of the hand, was reproduced and raised in a protected setting at the San Diego Zoo's Keauhou Bird Conservation Center at Volcano on the Big Island.

"The puaiohi is one of Hawaii's most critically endangered birds and we are all doing what we can to save these birds from extinction and protect their habitat," said David Leonard, wildlife biologist with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife.  "The work done to release the puaiohi back into the forest is a very complex process that takes place in a difficult area to reach, but is important to its conservation."

The puaiohi was the last of Kauai's birds to be discovered by western ornithologists.

It feeds on fleshy fruits, insects, snails and prefers to nest in remote ravines that are difficult to access. 

The current population of puaiohi on Kauai is estimated at about 500.

Photo courtesy of Eric VanderWerf.

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