Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Region

Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands

Large Kaua‘i Thrush / Myadestes myadestinus  / Kama‘o

Painting of Kama‘o The kama‘o is eight inches in length and is dull brown, tinged with olive, and a gray belly. The bill and legs are dark. It is the largest of the native thrushes.
Kama‘o - Painting by Sheryl Ives Boyton

The kama‘o has a sweet melodious song consisting of complex trills, whistles, and warbles. This forest bird eats fruits, berries and seeds, and sometimes insects and land snails.

Past & Present:
The kama‘o was once widespread throughout the island of Kaua‘i; however, during a 1981 survey, only 24 were observed. As elsewhere in Hawai‘i, our knowledge of former bird populations and the reasons for their decline is incomplete. It appears that for the kama‘o the most drastic declines occurred in the first 30 years of this century. It is believed that land clearing is a major reason for the decline. Other causes include avian diseases, goat and cattle grazing, predators such as rats and cats, and habitat degradation caused by alien plants.

Conservation Efforts:
The destruction of native forests by goats and feral cattle was recognized as early as 1815, and significant efforts were made by the Territorial Board of Agriculture and Forestry during the 1930's to eradicate the cattle and reduce the goat populations in the forests. The Forest Reserve Act of 1907 was also an important step in protecting watersheds and forests. The Alaka‘i Wilderness Preserve was established in 1964 by the State of Hawai`i and is the primary habitat of the endangered forest birds of Kaua‘i.

The kama‘o was listed as an endangered species on October 13, 1970. The kama‘o is included in the Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds (2006).


Last updated: September 20, 2012
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