Corvus sp. ‘Hawai’i’ 1

Woodpecker-like Crow (Corvus sp.)  

This very unique crow species, which still has not been described, is known from subfossil remains that were recovered from the lava tubes at the Pu’u Wa’awa’a cinder cone in the northern Kona district, Hawai’i.  

The Woodpecker-like Crow was characterized by its skull and beak modified for hammering on hard surfaces, probably very much like a woodpecker.  

The species inhabited lowland areas and obviously disappeared shortly after the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers. [1]  


The only crow species surviving in the whole Polynesian region today is the Hawaiian Crow or ‘alala (Corvus hawaiiensis Peale), which, however, is extinct in the wild. It is now bred in captivity, but unfortunately all efforts to translocate captive-bred birds into the wild have failed so far.  



[1] Jon G. Griffin: Pu’u Wa’awa’a Biological Assessment; Pu’u Wa’awa’a, North Kona, Hawaii 2003 
[2] Susan Culliney; Liba Pechar; Richard Switzer; Viviana Ruiz-Gutierrez: Seed dispersal by a captive corvid: the role of the ‘Alala (Corvus hawaiiensis) in shaping Hawai’i’s plant communities. Ecological Applications 22(6): 1718-1732. 2012  


edited: 19.05.2019