Melamprosops phaeosoma Casey & Jacoby

Poouli (Melamprosops phaeosoma)  

This species was described in 1974, it was restricted to higher elevations on the island of Maui, but subfossil remains show that it formerly was common all over the island.  

The Poouli reached a size of about 14 cm, it had a black face, a grey crown, the upperparts were brown, the under site was light brown to dusky white.  

The species fed on snails, spiders and insects.  

The Hawaiian name po’o-uli, which was given to the bird by its authors, literally means dark-headed. [1]  


This species is now extinct, what in fact could easily have been avoided if the efforts to save this species would have been started earlier.  

There were only three birds leftover in 1997, a male and two females; one of them, the male, was captured and taken to the Maui Bird Conservation Center in Olinda in an attempt to breed the bird in captivity, but it died shortly after (November 26th, 2004) on bird malaria.  

The enormous ignorance and incompetence of the persons in authority involved in this case is simply an unbelievable shame!  

The official red list of the IUCN still lists the Poouli as Critically Endangered, but the Poouli has gone forever.  



[1] H. D. Pratt: The Hawaiian Honeycreepers: Drepanidinae. Oxford Univ. Pr. 2005  


Photo: Paul E. Baker (?); U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  

(public domain)


edited: 23.09.2017