2024 is Ka Makahiki o Nā Manu Nahele: The Year of the Forest Birds, a time to celebrate the jewels of our Hawaiian forests. Our native forest birds are uniquely Hawaiian: they exist only in the Hawaiian Islands and nowhere else in the world. These birds have critical ecological roles as pollinators, seed dispersers, and insect managers of Hawaiian forests. Our forest birds are an inextricable part of Native Hawaiian culture in their roles as ʻaumakua (family deities) and messengers between akua (gods) and kānaka (people). Nā manu nahele are celebrated in mele (songs) moʻolelo (stories), ʻōlelo noʻeau (proverbs), kaʻao (legends), and in the creation of feather adornments including lei hulu.
Our nā manu nahele are at risk: of 84 forest bird species known from either the fossil record or human observation, an astonishing 58 species have gone extinct. Of the 26 species that remain today, 24 are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as vulnerable, near-threatened, threatened, endangered, or critically endangered, including the ʻio seen here (PC: Bret Mossman). To learn more about why Hawaiʻi has lost so many native birds and what is being done to save those that remain, explore below and come to one of our Makahiki o Nā Manu Nahele events this year to meet the manu experts who help prevent extinction.
Makahiki o Nā Manu Nahele is brought to you by a partnership of manu enthusiasts from DLNR Forestry & Wildlife, Kamehameha Schools, Kauaʻi Forest Bird Recovery Project, Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project, the ʻAlalā Project, the University of Hawaiʻi Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death outreach group, Bishop Museum, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Birds Not Mosquitoes, the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, the Invasive Species Committees, Hawaiʻi Association of Watershed Partnerships, and the Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi.
Find all news and more information here: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/manu/