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#192 Kauaʻi ʻōʻō aka ʻōʻōʻāʻā


Not just this bird, but the whole genus is extinct. As the first name would hint to, these were endemic to Kaua'i. There isn't really much known about them. They ate small invertebrates, flower nectar, and honey. If you do a search for the last call of the Kauaʻi ʻōʻō you will hear a recording of a beautiful mating call. Sadly, it was from the male after the last female had presumably killed in Hurricane Iwa in 1982, so there were no answering calls. The hurricane was one of the most damaging Hawaii had seen, coming within 1 mile of Kaua'i. The male was not seen after 1985. They never heard him call after 1987. It is thought that most likely the same things killed these that killed the rest of the birds I've done this week. An added factor though was that not just Hurricane Iwa, but another hurricane meant that the trees they nested in were destroyed, and then the second hurricane some time later killed potential replacement nesting sites.

This view makes it look a little like a hawk, but it is hard to show what the beak was like except from the side, and I've done enough side views with this week, I want to do a front facing view. They have a longish bill in comparison to what you might normally think of as a songbird's beak. It is not as long as some of the other birds I've painted like the Kaua'i nukupu'u, but a good bit longer than Po'ouli I'd say. It also curves a little bit. As far as I could find, there were absolutely no pictures of this bird staring straight at the camera, and none of the paintings I saw (scientific or otherwise) had a view like this of any of the birds in the whole genus. I found that a couple species of birds of paradise actually had beaks quite similar with the way they curve, though the Kauaʻi ʻōʻō has a slightly thinner beak, but that helped me get an idea of how it should look. When painting some of these, I will have 30 or more photographs, plus the written description, all in one photoshop file as different layers. I study them all, do not copy any one of them, but use them to decide how my painting will look. Sometimes because so many of the animals I paint have very few photographs of them, I will have more pictures of a completely different animal than the one I'm actually painting. I am very adamant about not copying any pictures I find, not only is that not cool to do to the artist who created the first image (painter or photographer), but I think it limits the painting I'm making and in essence leaves me out of a huge part of the whole process.

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