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The Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni) is an endangered Hawaiian subspecies of the black-necked stilt. Typical black-necked stilts, however, live along coastlines in the Americas. Somewhere in history, a few of these birds migrated, or were blown, to Hawaii, where they became a subspecies of their own.
Leggy and slender, the Hawaiian stilt boasts a long, thin beak. Like its American cousin, this bird lives on shorelines where it hunts for fish and small marine animals.
Hawaiians sometimes call this bird the “aeʻo”—from a Hawaiian name for the “bird” and word for “stilts.” Another Hawaiian name for the bird is the “kukuluaeʻo.” In Hawaiian, this term means “one standing high.”
Jon shoots these birds as part of an effort to document Hawaii’s native species in their natural habitat. The ae’o, with it’s long, pink legs, occupies its own special niche in the Hawaiian web of life.