Tag Archives: Psittirostra psittacea ssp. deppei Rothschild

Psittirostra psittacea (Gmelin)

Ou (Psittirostra psittacea)


The Ou was described in 1789; it was already mentioned in an enumeration of birds found on the island of Hawai’i during Cook’s last voyage.

Originally, the species inhabited all of the Hawaiian main islands where it originally was very common and widespread, the birds undertook wide wanderings, likely even between islands, to exploit seasonally available food resources. They generally fed on fruits, mainly of the native ‘ie’ie (Freycinetia arborea Gaudich.) but they also fed upon insects

The species reached a size of about 17 cm; it showed a marked sexual dimorphism; both sexes were generally olive-green, had pink legs and feet and beaks, but the males had a bright yellow head.

The Hawaiian name of the bird was ‘ō’ū. [1]


The last populations of the Ou survived on the islands of Hawai’i, where they were last seen in 1987 in the Ōla’a area and on Kaua’i, where they finally were last seen in 1989 on the Alaka’i plateau; no real efforts had been undertaken to save the last populations. [1]



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


Depiction from: ‘Scott B. Wilson; A. H. Wilson; Frederick William Frohawk; Hans Gadow: Aves Hawaiienses: the birds of the Sandwich Islands. London: R. H. Porter 1890-1899’

(not in copyright)


edited: 01.08.2022