Eloquent ‘elepaio

An ‘elepaio is perched in a tree, Friday, in the Alaka‘i Wilderness Preserve. This endangered member of the Old World flycatcher family is endemic to Kaua‘i. The ‘Hiking Kaua‘i’s Highlands on Koke‘e Trails’ map connects the ‘elepaio to a Native Hawaiian legend. Laka, the deity of the forest and hula dance, sometimes took the form of the little bird. Hawaiians coming to the forest to cut stately koa trees for their canoes would ask Laka’s blessing before felling a tree. The curious bird often follows hikers through the forest, calling with its shrill whistle.

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