Hawaiian Rail

Scientific name: Porzana sandwichensis

Common Name: Hawaiian Rail.

Hawaiian Name(s): Moho

USFWS Status: Extinct.

Distribution: Hawaii Island; possibly Molokai

Last seen: 1884

Map: --

Illustration from Rothschild (1893-1900).

The Hawaiian Rail was collected from the Big Island of Hawaii on the last voyage of Captain Cook. For some time, two varieties were thought to exist (the Hawaiian Rail and the Spotted Hawaiian Rail), but it was later contended that the spotted variety merely represented a juvenile form of the Hawaiian Rail.

This small bird (about 5 1/2 inches long) inhabited the open country in the Puna area of the Big Island between Olaa (now Keeau) and Kilauea Crater. The last specimens were collected in 1864 and the last individuals were observed in 1884. No doubt the introduction of the mongoose in 1883, as well as the pervasive rats, dogs, and cats, were all factors in its eventual demise.

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This page last revised 1 March 1997 by nle