As vigilant overseers of Hawaiʻi forests, the once abundant ʻalalā, or Hawaiian crow (Corvus hawaiiensis), were important fruit and seed dispersers of plants like hōawa, ʻieʻie, and ʻōlapa and served as a natural alarm system of nearby disturbances.
Long ago, bird collectors lamented the presence of ʻalalā as their cries would send other forest birds into hiding with a barrage of shrieks and howls.
Oli (chant) practitioners have embodied these sounds into several well-known ʻalalā chanting styles, some notably used in love chants to arouse strong emotions in their listeners.
Today, ʻalalā are extinct in the wild and are no longer heard in the forest. However, conservationists are working hard to soon release captive-bred birds and reestablish wild populations in Hawaiʻi. ʻAlalā are more closely related to common ravens than crows and are highly intelligent. They have an extensive vocal repertoire and learn their songs socially from other individuals.