White Terns are native throughout the world’s tropics and subtropics, where they breed almost exclusively on remote islands that are free of predators like cats, dogs, and mongooses. Historically, this was also true in Hawaii, but in 1961 a pair of White Terns laid an egg and raised a chick near Hanauma Bay. Since then, their numbers in the city of Honolulu, have steadily increased and in 2007, the White Tern, also known by its Hawaiian name Manu-o-Ku, was designated the official bird of the City and County of Honolulu.
Today, White Terns are a common sight in Honolulu, from downtown parks to Nuuanu and Manoa Valleys, to bustling Waikiki, and the photogenic birds are gaining popularity as their range increases. In bringing together data about White Terns from here and abroad, marine biologist Susan Scott has crafted a reliable, informative resource filled with remarkable photographs for anyone curious about Manu-o-Ku, Honolulu’s official bird.
Susan Scott, a former registered nurse, earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Hawaii in 1985 and is a graduate of the university’s Marine Option Program, where she specialized in marine science journalism. This is her ninth book about nature in Hawaii.