Oahu’s Amazing Fauna: Native Hawaiian Seabird

Oahu’s Amazing Fauna: Native Hawaiian Seabird

9th May 2019

Travelers who want to spend their holidays in a Hawaiian heaven where they can relax on beautiful beaches and get closer to a multicultural heritage are always welcomed on the island of Oahu.

Oahu is home to 75 per cent of the state's total populations, and it is a bustling place. Known as the “Gathering Place”, the island amazes its visitors with a multitude of cozy cafes, bars, restaurants, clubs, as well as international and local stores.

Also, whether you are interested in unwinding by the ocean, indulging in adventurous watersports, exploring the multicultural environment, or getting closer to nature during inspiring hikes, Oahu is the perfect place for you.

Its easy-going lifestyle and incredible natural beauty inspire not only visitors who fall in love with the island at first sight, but also the Island Slipper team to create chic, qualitative products that bring comfort and style to those who wear them.

But local shopping, bar hopping, hiking, sports and sunbathing aren’t the only activities you can enjoy during your Oahu escape. Exploring the island’s magnificent wild territories is a great way to disconnect and get in touch with nature and the amazing Hawaiian fauna. 

And if bird watching is your cup of tea, here you have the chance to admire the native Hawaiian Seabird, known as Manu-o-Ku. Continue reading to find out more about this beautiful bird.

Oahu - The Paradise for Nature and Wildlife Lovers

Manu-o-Ku, known in English as the White Tern, breed throughout the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands but the only inhabited island that hosts this charming bird is our beautiful home, Oahu. You can, of course, find the White Tern outside of Hawaii, more exactly on islands throughout subtropical and tropical oceans.

If you visit our lovely island, and you are a passionate bird watcher, or you only want to get closer to the Hawaiian fauna, you should adventure yourself into searching for the lovely White Tern.

The bird typically remains near its breeding colony year-round, and it rarely ventures far from shore. You can’t, however, see these graceful birds anywhere on Oahu. The only places you will actually find nesting manu-o-Ku are the urban and suburban areas of Honolulu, from Niu Valley to Ford Island.

This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to admire them flying overhead while you explore other areas of our beautiful island. But they only nest in the Honolulu, being one of the few native Hawaiian birds that can be seen in the city. And since Honolulu is the only US city where they do this, the manu-o-Ku became the Official Bird of the City and County of Honolulu in 2007.

Manu-o-Ku: The Native Hawaiian Seabird

There are linguists who state that the manu-o-Ku name was derived from “ohu”, which in Hawaiian means mist, fog, or cloud. Manu-o-Ku, however, means “Bird of Ku”, and in Hawaiian mythology, Ku is the god of war, represented by images of a feathered god.

Since they usually will fly out to sea in the morning to feed and then return to land at night, for seafarers, these birds are considered a great help in navigation. They are, of course, able to travel hundreds of miles, but their presence can always assure seamen they are near land.

Are you wondering how easy it is to spot the native Hawaiian seabird? Well, in Honolulu, the Hui Manu-o-Ku marks the trees with nesting terns using a blue ribbon. The Hui keeps a database of all nests, and the blue ribbons usually carry the nest IDs. This makes it easy to return fallen chicks to their nest site, and reunite them with their parents.

But the ribbon also informs tree trimmers to beware of an egg or chick on a bare branch, because the White Ternes don’t build nests like most birds. And it helps bird watchers t find the trees that have a Manu-o-Ku.

As you can imagine, the White Tern is federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. So, hunting, capturing, killing the birds or taking their eggs are all illegal activities. Also, because there is only a small number of White Terns populating the main Hawaiian Islands, the birds are listed as Threatened by the State of Hawaii. Therefore, simply disturbing or harassing the nesting manu-o-Ku can end up with a fine or even imprisonment.

If you visit Oahu and you want to admire these beauties, be very careful not to disturb them. This is important, not only for them but also for you, to keep you out of trouble. And if you can’t make it to our island yet, but you want to feel close to our rich Hawaiian culture, we’ve got your back. Check out our cool Island slippers, handmade with love, and designed to bring you a bit of our Hawaiian friendly style.