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Animal Database
Animal Database
Bishop's ʻōʻō
800px-Moho bishopi
Male and female
Common Name Moloka‘i ‘ō‘ō
Range Hawaii
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Mohoidae
Genus Moho
Species Moho bishopi
Conservation Status

The Bishop's Oo (Moho bishopi) was a Hawaiian endemic bird placed in the extinct genus of Oos (Moho) within the extinct family Mohoidae. It was among the most unique of Hawaiian birds, with its long, glossy tail and loud, distinctive call. Both the common and scientific name of this bird were chosen by Lionel Walter Rothschild after Charles Reed Bishop, the founder of the Bishop Museum.


The Bishop's Oo has a long, slightly curved dark bill that matched in color with it's glossy black feathers. Yellow feather tufts provide contrast to the black plumage on the maxillaries, flanks, and undertail coverts. Narrow white shaft lines run through their feathers, and their long tail reached a length of 10 centimeters, included in their total length of about 29 centimeters. They weigh about 24 grams. This bird does not show strong sexual dimorphism.


Oo Distribution

Distribution provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The Bishop's Oo was endemic to the dense, moist montane forests of the Hawaiian islands of eastern Molokai and Lanai. It was present from altitudes of 1600m and 2000m.

Its historical status on Maui is not clear, with fossil records and reported sightings supporting it's inhabitance of the island. Subfossil bone from Maui have been found on Mount Olinda at about 4,500 ft above sea level and are sometimes referred to in literature as the Maui Oo. Several sightings have also been reported, with one being on June 9, 1901 on the northeast of Olinda at around 900 m elevation. In 1973, a birdwatcher claimed to have heard the unique call of this bird. The final sighting of a bird believed to the the Bishop's Oo was at Koolau Forest Reserve on May of 1981.


Their call is a loud, carrying one with a hearing distance of up to 5000 Hz. They have a hearing threshold of about 10 dB.

Their calls are distinctive and with good carrying distance; one composing of a simple took-took and another a five-syllable owów-owów-ów, with the last being the loudest and almost a shriek.


The Bishop's Oo was originally observed by R.C.L. Perkins in the 1890s feeding on nectar from Hawaiian lobelias, but it would also feed from ohia blossoms if lobelias were absent.


Bishop's Oos are curious yet timid birds. The long graduated tail of males may have been used, along with their yellow feathers, and undertail coverts, to display to the female.


The Bishop's Oo fell victim to deforestation, competition from introduced predators (such as the black rat), habitat loss by the clearing of land for agriculture and livestock grazing, and diseases which were introduced by mosquitoes. It was last seen in 1904 by ornithologist George Campbell Munro. In 1915, Munro tried to verify reports of eventual sightings but he never found live individuals again. The last sighting was in 1981 on Maui's Haleakalā volcano, but no other sightings have been reported since then.

Cultural Significance[]

Native Hawaiians caught Bishop's Oos for their feathers, which were used in Hawaiian featherwork articles. Their yellow plumes have been documented on ceremonial cloaks. As Europeans introduced firearms, exploitation of this bird may have increased.


Oo specimen

Specimen at unknown exhibition.

Today, this bird can only be seen as specimens, paintings, picture notes, and skins. Records of these types are known to be held in Bremen, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii; London; Molokai, Hawaiian Islands; New York; and Stockholm.