Hawaiian Birds: Nene

10 10 2015
Photo by Alejandro Bárcenas

Photo by Alejandro Bárcenas

The Nene is the state bird of Hawaii and is also known as the Hawaiian Goose. They are 22-26″ a medium sized goose with a buffy neck with dark furrows. Heavily barred gray-brown above, lighter below (see photo).

Its strong toes are padded and have reduced webbing, an adaptation that allows it to swiftly traverse rough terrain such as lava. Black billed it breeds from November to June. Females incubate the 2-5 eggs for 29 to 32 days.

An herbivore they feed on plants native and introduced.

Nesochen sandivicensis

Nesochen sandivicensis

Advertisements




Birds of Hawaii: Ae’o

10 09 2015
Himantopus mexicanus knudseni

Himantopus mexicanus knudseni

Also knows as the Hawaiian Stilt, the Ae’o is a tall slender wading bird with pink legs and a long thin black bill. It is 16″ and its voice is a loud, sharp “keek” call given in flight and when disturbed on the ground. Also gives a soft more muted call while resting. They exhibit a strong flapping flight with its legs trailing behind. Often found in mudflats, marshy areas, and ponds. They feed on fish, crabs, aquatic insects, and worms.





Fish of Hawaii: Kihikihi

20 07 2015
photo by Mila Zinkova taken in Kona

photo by Mila Zinkova taken in Kona

The Moorish Idol, Zanclus cornutus, called Kinikihi in Hawaiian, stands out in contrasting bands of black, white and yellow. They have relatively small fins so they prefer shallow reef waters and lagoons. Like the butterfly fishes, Moorish Idols mate for life. They often school as juveniles. Adult males tend to be aggressive toward one another.

They grow up to eight inches in length and are not long lived in captivity although they are popular aquarium fish.

The Moors in Africa believe them to be fish of happiness and with their colorful bodies and graceful patterns you can see why they bring a smile.





Birds of Hawaii: Noio

10 07 2015

 

This bird is frequently observed on the ocean cliffs of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It is a seabird in the tern family. It is 14″ with a wingspan of 28″.

Its voice is similar to that of the Brown Noddy but higher pitched and less piercing. The Noio build substantial nests from the wood of the naupaka or ironwood trees and rarely feeds far from its nesting island.

 





Fish of Hawaii: Lagoon Triggerfish

15 05 2015


This commonly seen fish prefers calm waters and lives in shallow areas and sandy spots. It is sometimes called a Picasso Triggerfish because of the yellow line that extends from it’s mouth giving it the look of an abstract piece of artwork. Perhaps more abstract to most and more challenging to spell than Mississippi is the Hawaiian name for this fish: humu­humu­nuku­nuku­āpua`a

Learning to spell the name of this fish will certainly win the hearts of islanders and before you get any bright ideas it is too many letters for Scrabble.





May First: May Day is Lei Day

1 05 2015

In 1928 poet Don Blanding, sometimes referred to as the poet laureate of Hawaii, wrote an article in the Honolulu newspaper suggesting that a day be set aside to create leis, to keep this important tradition alive in the hearts of all Hawaiians. It was made an official territory holiday just a year later. It remains today an important day of celebration with parades and people wearing their hand crafted leis.

When Don Blanding died. in 1957, his ashes were scattered from lei adorned canoes off the beach in Waikiki a fitting farewell to a man who carried Hawaii in his heart.






Plants of Hawaii: Ki

10 03 2012

Hawaiian
Ki Plant

Cordyline fruticosa in Hawaiian Ki may be best known to mainlanders as Ti.

Ti, or Ki, is a member of the agave family its scientific name is Cordyline terminalis. The plant originated in either southeast Asia or Australia. It has a woody base and stalks, and grows from 3 to 12 feet high. The leaves are blade shaped and grow 1 to 2 feet long, in a spiral cluster at the top of each branch. The leaf has a strong central vein.

There are several varieties of Ti. The most common is green, but red Ti is found often in Hawaii. Many other colors are found through Polynesia and Micronesia, including yellow, green, black and purple. Ti produces small red or yellow flowers that become red berries. However, it is rarely grown from seeds, but instead propagated from stalks cut from plants. These cuttings can be put directly in the soil, or rooted first in water.

Ti berries