HONOLULU (KHON2) — KHON2’s weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various roadways across the pae ʻāina so the meaning of their names can be uncovered.
It is time to bring attention to the role that birds play in the Islands.
In the ahupuaa of ʻŌmaʻopio, which lies in the moku of Kula on Maui, stands a street that is named after the animal that flies the highest to the heavens.
That street is Manu Street.
Hawaiʻi supported 142 endemic species of birds before humans arrived. A total of 95 of them have become extinct since then, however.
Birds were used for their feathers in ancient days. They became symbols of royalty, reflecting the heavenly space they flew.
One of the most famous feathered items in all of Hawaiʻi is the only all-yellow cloak, which once belonged to King Kamehameha I.
Made with more than 450,000 rare yellow feathers from the black Mamo bird, it took about 80,000 birds to provide enough feathers.
Birds were never killed though — only a few feathers were plucked per bird and then they were released.
Today, 44 endemic birds remain, according to the American Bird Conservancy, 33 of which are endangered.
Hawaiʻi unfortunately stands as the bird extinction capital of the world due to threats like habitat destruction as well as non-native predators and mosquitoes.
Did you know? Now you do!