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.

The map below shows birding trails where you might see this bird. Learn more by visiting our species profile page for ʻalae ʻula.

Native Birds of Hawaiʻi