‘Ōma‘ō

Myadestes obscurus / Hawaiian Thrush
Omao in tree

Oma'os are medium-sized, fruit-eating birds that occur throughout the forested areas of the Refuge. Although common on the Refuge, its subdued coloration makes it difficult to spot, but loud “grrrack” and “whistled trill” calls can be heard for long distances in the forest.

This bird has a dark brown back and a light gray breast. Birds are gray-brown above and lighter gray below, with a short, dark bill, a dark eye, and dark legs. As a member of the thrush family, Oma'os have a juvenile plumage pattern with heavy scalloping on the breast. The breast on juvenile birds is buffy-whitish in color, with black scalloped markings.

The ‘ōma‘ō feeds on native fruits and berries.

Oma'os are usually solitary, but individuals can be found in pairs throughout the year, with pair bonds lasting at least one breeding season. Courtship behavior is most often seen between January and March, with most breeding taking place between April and August. Females are responsible for nest construction and incubation of one or two eggs. Incubation lasts for about 16 days, and the young remain in the nest for about 19 days before fledging. Both adults feed nestlings and provide parental care for more than three weeks after young birds leave the nest.

Oma'os face the same threats that have decimated other native Hawaiian bird populations (habitat destruction, introduced predators, and diseases).

Facts About ‘Ōma‘ō

Oma'os are the most common of the Hawaiian thrushes, a group whose members once occurred on each of the six major Hawaiian islands. Now, they are found only on the island of Hawai'i. 

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1985 to protect Oma'os, other native Hawaiian forest birds, and their habitats. A cooperative strategy of purchasing, restoring and managing forested lands above 1,500 meters continues to play an important role in the conservation of this species.