Hawaiian Moorhen
('Alae 'Ula - 900) 

In Hawaiian mythology, a moorhen brought fire to humans which explains the red on its forehead, a symbol of the scorching from the fire.  In the 1960's the moorhen were down to 57 individuals and now can only be found on Kaua`i and a small number on O`ahu.  Nesting occurs year round 1-3 times a year, but most activity occurs between March and August. Platform nests are constructed in dense vegetation over water below wetland habitats of 410 feet (Kalihiwai Reservoir is at 393 feet). Threats to the endangered moorhen are habitat loss that has been reduced in Hawaii over the last 110 years by 31%, altered hydrology, non-native invasive plants, introduced predators, dogs, rats, feral cats, cattle egrets, and bullfrogs who prey on adult and young 'alae 'ula, and disease. These waterbirds are secretive by nature, but have been seen at our shoreline looking for mollusks, aquatic insects, and foraging for water plants and grasses.  The three month lowered water level at Kalihiwai Reservoir in 2011 severely effected their food source when we lost our mollusks and water plants from the shallow water where they live and are foraged undercover by the moorhen.