Gallinula galeata sandvicensis | Hawaiian gallinule | ‘Alae ‘ula
Other Names: alae ula, hawaiian moorhen
The ‘alae ‘ula or Hawaiian moorhen is a small, striking waterbird and is one of 12 recognized subspecies. ‘Alae ‘ula is endemic to Hawai‘i and is very similar to its North American relative in appearance; adults are black above and dark slate blue below, with a white stripe on their flanks and a prominent red shield over their red and yellow bill. Feet are lobed rather than webbed. In Hawaiian mythology, a moorhen brought fire to humans, which explains the red on its forehead, a symbol of the scorching from the fire. It uses a variety of freshwater habitats and can be somewhat secretive, although it is often seen swimming across open water.