Black Mamo

The Black Mamo (Drepanis funerea), was discovered in 1893 in the Pelekuna Valley, on the island of Molokai, where it was once found in the high forests of the peaks. There is fossil evidence of this species on the island of Maui. It was shot down many times for collections because of what the bird looked like.

Being eight inches long from tail tip to the end of is bill, it was a large bird, but was not as large as the former species of Mamo, the Hawaiian Mamo. It was shadowy black with faded white primaries. It had a long bill that was far more down-curved than the last species. The males had longer bills then the females. It was seen with a faded colored forehead which was caused by the pollen of its favorite food, the Lobelia and as it dunked its head deep into the flower in search of nectar it would get covered. Its song was a group of nose whistles that sounded like a flute along with a long held out thrill.

It was apparently a very aloof bird as it would always visit and get close to people and was a low flier, never perching any higher than twelve feet above the ground, which would have been the down fall of this bird. It was also affected by the increase of cattle and deer which soon destroyed much of the understory habitat that this bird needed. It was also affected by the Indian Mongoose who was sent to catch the rats but chose to eat the birds instead.

One of the largest scale searches for this bird was in 1936, and no specimens were detected, even in East Molokai where they were last seen in 1907. Preserved specimens of the Black Mamo include the ones at Bremen, Boston, Honolulu, London and New York. There are also several skins of this birds in collections. There may be specimens in private collections.