On our recent trip to Oahu, we saw our first ‘alae ‘ula at Waimea Valley (the waterfall place.) . This endangered bird is endemic to Hawaii (e.g. evolved in Hawaii and found nowhere else in the world). The Hawaiian moorhen is a waterbird, so they tend to live near freshwater marshes and taro fields on the of Kauai and Oahu.
I enjoy learning Hawaiian legends about places, birds, fish, etc. At the park I learned that the ‘alea ‘ula knew the secret for creating fire and withheld this secret from man. When Maui (the demi-god who fished out all the islands of Hawaii with his magic hook) asked the ‘alea ‘ula for the secret to make fire, she lied to him. When Maui found out, he was furious. So, he choked her until she revealed the secret of fire. As punishment for lying to him, Maui burnt her forehead with a red hot stick. That’s the reason for this bird’s distinctive red frontal shield.
To learn more about this Hawaiian moorhen, see this link to a fact sheet.