Hawaiian birds, 1874.

Hawaiian Birds.—A letter from Hilo says: “There is in this town a beautiful collection of Hawaiian birds, finely preserved. It would be a valuable acquisition to the Government Museum, if Mr. Mills, the gentleman to whom it belongs, and who has been some years and at considerable expense in the work of collection, would part with it. Among the specimens is one called ‘the wingless bird,’ now nearly if not quite extinct on these islands. They are, however, numerous on Wake’s and Laysan [Laysin] Islands, where I have seen them, and supposed they were a new species. The body is about the size of a pigeon’s, they have no feathers on the flipper-like wings, and they run with such speed that one would take them for rats at first sight.”

[I wonder what became of this collection. Perhaps they went to the National Museum and then to the Bishop Museum. And it seems that among the different upcoming exhibits at the Bishop Museum is one on birds!]

(Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 10/3/1874, p. 3)


The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Volume XIX, Number 14, Page 3. October 3, 1874.

1 thought on “Hawaiian birds, 1874.

  1. Wow ! well it was Mr. C. R. Bishop who got these birds eventually after Mills died. They are in Bishop Museum. See (blush) my article in Hawaiian Journal of History, “James D. Mills: Hilo Bird Collector”, 1978, vol 12, pp 84-98. BUT the ‘wingless’ bird of Hawaii is not same as one on Wake or Laysan. The flightless birds were moho and kia manu Hawelu of Olaa was the one who captured them for Mills. see also Hawelu: Hawaiian Journal of History, 1981, vol 15 pp59-68 [both free on web] Enjoy … and thanks for finding this

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