Description of the Nene by Kepelino, 1863.

THE STORY

—OF—

The Birds of Hawaii nei

NUMBER 5.

Nene Bird.

The Nene is a bird from the high uplands, and it is a big bird; it resembles a Turkey [Pelehu] and it is that height, its legs are long, and its toes are flat, its neck is nicely slim, its head is small, its eyes are like the eyes of a Chicken [Moa], its beak is short, it has a fine loud voice, and its call sounds like, “unele, unele, unele.”

It is said in the old Hawaiian stories, that the Nene and the Fly [Nalo] were deprived of their wealth, and that is why the Nene cries in that manner, “unele, unele” [“without, without”] and the Nalo chose its place to live as Kapalapilau [“Rotting dab of excreta”], and that is still what they do.

The Nene does not eat Rats [Iole] and other things like the Hawk [Io], and the Owl [Pueo], it only eats leaves of vegetation and flowers of grasses. Continue reading