WatchList Species Account for 'Alala or Hawaiian Crow
(Corvus hawaiiensis)


Qualifies for the list as a Red List Species

 

Hawaiian Crow (Alala)
Photo: Jack Jeffrey

Endemic to the island of Hawaii, the last two wild individuals of the Hawaiian Crow ('Alala) disappeared in 2002, and the species is now extinct in the wild.

 

Some individuals remain in captivity, and there are plans to reintroduce the bird into the wild, although previous attempts to do so were not successful. In 1998, 24 birds had been released into formerly occupied habitat, but 18 of these birds died, and the remaining individuals were recaptured to protect them and preserve genetic diversity.

 

Largely frugivorous and known for its remarkable vocal repetoire, the 'Alala inhabited wet ohi’a-koa forest in addition to scrub and rangeland, but with the destruction and degradation of its habitat, it became confined to high-elevation forest.

 

The 'Alala is subject to mosquito-borne diseases and predation by introduced rats and mongooses and the Hawaiian Hawk, which, if translocated, will return to the site where it was captured. Even in recent years the 'Alalal has been subject to shooting. Current reintroduction plans for the 'Alala concentrate on its last known stronghold in the wild, the Kona Forest Unit of the Hakalea National Wildlife Refuge. The plans include management of part of that area, in addition to control of predation and creative solutions to threats posed by the Hawaiian Hawk.