Temporal range: Recent
Moho braccatus.jpg
Kauaʻi ʻōʻō (Moho braccatus),
the last surviving member of the Mohoidae
(extinct c. 1987)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Mohoidae
Genus: Moho
Lesson, 1830[1]
Type species
Merops fasciculatus
Latham, 1790

See text

  • Acrulocerus Cabanis, 1847
  • Mohohina Mathews, 1925
  • Pseudomoho Mathews, 1925
  • Mohornis Mathews, 1930

Moho is a genus of extinct birds in the Hawaiian bird family, Mohoidae, that were endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Members of the genus are known as ʻōʻō in the Hawaiian language. Their plumage was generally striking glossy black; some species had yellowish axillary tufts and other black outer feathers. Most of these species became extinct by habitat loss, the introduction of mammalian predators (like rats, pigs, and mongooses), and by extensive hunting (their plumage was used for the creation of precious ʻaʻahu aliʻi (robes) and ʻahu ʻula (capes) for aliʻi (Hawaiian nobility).[4][5] The Kauaʻi ʻōʻō was the last species of this genus to become extinct, probably a victim of avian malaria.[6]

Until recently, the birds in this genus were thought to belong to the family Meliphagidae (honeyeaters) because they looked and acted so similar to members of that family, including many morphological details. A 2008 study argued, on the basis of a phylogenetic analysis of DNA from museum specimens, that the genera Moho and Chaetoptila do not belong to the Meliphagidae but instead belong to a group that includes the waxwings and the palmchat; they appear especially close to the silky-flycatchers. The authors proposed a family, Mohoidae, for these two extinct genera.[7]

The album O'o by jazz composer John Zorn, released in 2009, is named after these birds.


The following species belong to this genus (in addition, subfossil remains of a species are known from Maui and known in literature as the Maui ʻōʻō, Moho sp.):

Image Common name Scientific name Extinct since
Moho apicalis-Keulemans.jpg Oʻahu ʻōʻō Moho apicalis c. 1837
Moho-bishopi.jpg Bishop's ʻōʻō
or Molokaʻi ʻōʻō
Moho bishopi c. 1981
Kauaioo.jpg Kauaʻi ʻōʻō Moho braccatus c. 1987
Moho nobilis-Keulemans.jpg Hawaiʻi ʻōʻō Moho nobilis c. 1934


  1. ^ Lesson, R. P. (1831). Traité d'Ornithologie. Vol. Livr. 4. Paris: Levrault (published 1830). p. 302.
  2. ^ Bryan, E.J., Jr.; Greenway, J.C., Jr. (1944). "Contributions to the Ornithology of the Hawaiian Islands". Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy at Harvard College. 94 (2): 137.
  3. ^ Paynter, Raymond A., Jr., ed. (1967). "Moho Lesson". Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 12. Cambridge, MA: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 424.
  4. ^ Flannery, Tim; Peter Schouten (2001). A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals. Atlantic Monthly Press. pp. 30, 110. ISBN 978-0-87113-797-5.
  5. ^ Ratzel, Friedrich (1896). "The History of Mankind". London: MacMillan. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  6. ^ Fuller, Errol (2001). Extinct Birds. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, Comstock Publishing. pp. 329–337. ISBN 978-0-8014-3954-4.
  7. ^ Fleischer, Robert C.; James, Helen F.; Olson, Storrs L. (2008). "Convergent Evolution of Hawaiian and Australo-Pacific Honeyeaters from Distant Songbird Ancestors". Current Biology. 18 (24): 1927–31. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.10.051. PMID 19084408.


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