The Ko’ko’, Guam’s Territorial Bird,
Is an endangered species
Believe it or not.
It’s hard to imagine
That there aren’t that many that can be found
For I remember seeing them as a child.
I can recall
How the bird had a brown head, neck and eye stripe
With a near gray throat and upper breast.
It also had short, dark-colored wings
With brownish spots barred with white.
It possessed a breast, abdomen and tail
Which were blackish with white barrings
It also had a gray bill, red iris, long legs
Along with dark brown feet.
Well, those were features of the Ko’ko’
That I vividly remember
Which would often scatter when I passed by.
It is one special bird that I knew couldn’t fly
But it is one that I would always remember
Because it had a loud, piercing whistle
Whenever it would sing.
It is said that the brown tree snakes invaded Guam
And is responsible for eating most of the Ko’ko.
We must protect whatever Ko’ko that are alive
For if we don’t, there will come a time
When this special native bird of Guam
Will disappear right before our eyes.
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao
*Ko’ko: Guam rail
Source: Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Lois Taitano Gumataotao