Hawaiian moorhen

Gallinula chloropus sanvicensis / ‘Alae ‘ula
Hawaiian moorhen
 The ‘alae ‘ula is a dark gray bird with a black head and neck, and white feathers on their flanks and on their undertail feathers. They have a very distinctive red frontal shield, and their bill tip is yellow with a red base. Their legs and feet are greenish and without lobes. Both sexes are similar and have chicken-like cackles and croaks. The ‘alae ‘ula is known as the most secretive native waterbird. In Hawaiian legend, these birds were thought to have brought fire from the gods to the Hawaiian people.
 ‘Alae ‘ula nest year-round but the active season is usually from March through August. The ‘alae ‘ula usually lays an average of 5 to 6 eggs and incubation is about 22 days. They are good swimmers and chicks can swim shortly after hatching.

Cats, dogs, mongooses, and bullfrogs are known predators with ‘auku‘u and rats as possible predators. The ‘alae ‘ula is highly susceptible to human and predator disturbance.

Facts About Hawaiian moorhen


Mollusks, insects, water plants, and grasses


Freshwater marshes,taro patches, irrigation ditches, reservoirs, and wet pastures. Currently only found on Kaua‘i and O‘ahu.