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Autochthonous Hawai'i

Pueo and Uluhe original

Pueo and Uluhe original

Regular price $175.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $175.00 USD
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Original 5.5"x7.25" illustration.

Pueo are a subspecies of short-eared owl endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Uluhe is a common indigenous fern found throughout the Main Islands as well as other wet tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Pueo are not represented in the subfossil record and are believed to have colonized Hawai’i after Polynesian arrival. Establishment of these birds is thought to be possible after the ecological changes brought by people, such as conversion of lowland forests to grasslands, and the introduction of the Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans), which provided a food source for pueo. Before this, Hawai’i had an unusual, long-legged, endemic owl genus (Grallistrix), but these four species became extinct after human contact.

Uluhe can form dense thickets of tangled fern, which helps keep land stable after landslides and other disturbances. Without uluhe to quickly fill in these gaps, invasive species could easily colonize fresh land. Uluhe often gives way to maturing forest, as it is a first successional species but diminishes as light availability is gradually reduced by growing trees. Uluhe is also a name used for two other similar-looking species, uluhe (Sticherus owyhensis) and uluhe lau nui (Diplopterygium pinnatum).

While uluhe is abundant, pueo are endangered on O’ahu and overall face threats of mammal predation, light pollution, vehicular collision, and pesticides. It is important to be mindful of how rodenticides are used, as both ‘io and pueo may be sensitive to poisoned prey.

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