Mamo - Black Mamo

The Black Mamo (D. funerea) was about 8 in (20 cm) in length and appeared similar to the Hawaiʻi Mamo but was entirely black except for the white primary shafts on the wings. The bill was more sharply decurved than the former species and had a small yellowy spot near the base (on the operculum).

When the bird fed the forehead would often become covered in pollen, making the forehead appear pale. The species fed on nectar from the flowers of Lobelia species and ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) at lower levels than the Hawaiʻi Mamo. The bird was apparently curious and would approach observers. Its call was a clear flute-like whistle and a five or six note rollicking whistle.

The Black Mamo was endemic to Molokaʻi and was last observed in 1907 by a collector, one Alanson Bryan, who had shot three birds. Tim Flannery quoted him as having written, "To my joy I found the mangled remains hanging in the tree in a thick bunch of leaves, six feet or more beyond where it had been sitting."

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Black Mamo

The Black Mamo (Drepanis funerea) is an extinct bird species once endemic to the island of Molokai, although there is fossil evidence of it having lived on Maui.

It measured 8 inches (20 cm) from bill to tail, and was black with faded white primaries and yellow at the base of the bill. The highly decurved bill was longer in the male. Often the forehead would be dusted with pollen of its favorite food, the Lobelia. The Mamo song was a group of nose whistles that sounded like a flute along with a long held out trill. This bird has had many names including Molokai Mamo, O’o nuku’umu, which meant "O’o with sucking beak", and Perkins’s Mamo, after ornithologist R.C.L Perkins who produced most of the information about this species.

By habit an understory bird, it was affected by the introduction of cattle and deer which destroyed much its habitat, as well as direct and egg predation by introduced rats and mongooses.

It was discovered in 1893 in the Pelekuna Valley, and named Drepanis funerea by Perkins because it appeared to him to be a dark mourning bird.

The last specimen was collected in 1907 by William Alanson Bryan. Tim Flannery quoted him as having written, "To my joy I found the mangled remains hanging in the tree in a thick bunch of leaves, six feet or more beyond where it had been sitting." Even if Bryan did not shoot the last Black Mamo, sightings stopped within a few years, and a large-scale search for this bird in 1936 found no specimens.

Preserved specimens of the Black Mamo include the ones at Bremen, Boston, Honolulu, London and New York City.

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