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State of Hawaii

Nene Branta sandwicensis ©Dan Culver Website

Birding Hawaii

At 2500 miles from the nearest landmass, Hawaii is the World's most isolated archipelago. The volcanic islands located in the centre of the North Pacific Ocean are some of the most beautiful and diverse islands anywhere on Earth. Geologically the Islands are unique; the Hawaii Islands have the wettest spot on Earth (on Kauai); the World's largest dormant volcano (on Maui); the World's tallest Sea Cliffs (on Molokai) and the World's most active volcano (on Hawaii). Habitats range from alpine mountains, lowland deserts and barren lava flows to tropical rainforests, wetlands and low lying sand islands.

The Hawaiian Island Chain stretches 1,523 miles across the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii in the southeast to Kure Atoll in the northwest. Although the Chain comprises many islands and reefs most visitors to Hawaii will visit one of the main Islands of Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii. Access to the other islands is strictly controlled as most are within the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, which provides habitat for millions of seabirds, several endemic land birds, as well as Hawaiian Monk Seals, Green Sea Turtles and many tropical fish.

The weather in the Islands is, as would be expected of a tropical location, generally warm and pleasant, although it can be much colder at high elevations, such as Haleakala Crater on Maui. The windward coasts of the Islands tend to get the greater share of rainfall, leaving the more sheltered leeward sides dryer and often, therefore, more barren areas.

Being such an isolated group of islands relatively few species managed to make it to Hawaii, but of those that did 90% were found nowhere else on Earth. Birds were of course one group able to make the long journey and although the Islands may not boast a huge list of bird species (currently about 285 species); it is impressive for such a remote location and the variety is certainly enough to keep even the most avid birder interested.

As would be expected of an isolated island chain, seabirds are one of the most conspicuous groups of birds present, and many of the 80 species recorded so far can be seen even in the Main Islands. Albatross, Frigatebirds, Boobies, Terns, Noddies, Tropicbirds, Shearwaters and Petrels, including the endemic Newell's Shearwater and Hawaiian Dark-rumped Petrel can all be seen with relative ease from land. A pelagic from one of Hawaii's harbours will provide better views of the breeding species, as well as increase the chance of spotting some of the scarcer and rarer migrant seabirds that do not breed in Hawaii, but pass through to and from their breeding/wintering grounds.

Endemic wetland species are represented by three species of Wildfowl – Hawaiian Duck or Koloa, Laysan Duck and Hawaiian Goose or Nene [the State bird of Hawaii]. The Hawaiian Duck is present on several islands, though is common only on Kauai. Laysan Duck is confined to the Island of Laysan in the NW Chain. Nene are recognised by most people as a conservation success story and birds can once again be seen on several of the Main Islands, although its long-term survival is still uncertain. More than 38 species of migrant Ducks and Geese have been recorded from Hawaii as well and although many wetlands have been destroyed or altered there remains (just) enough habitat to make migration worthwhile for several species. Species occur mainly from the continental United States, but Eurasian species also occur with some frequency.

Only one species of Shorebird breeds in Hawaii – the Hawaiian Black-necked Stilt, an endemic sub-species and can be found on all the Main Islands. Many species of both American and Eurasian shorebirds have been recorded in the Islands, some annually and some just once, but almost anything is possible, borne out by the impressive number seen – 46 species. The endemic Hawaiian Coot and Hawaiian race of the Common Moorhen are also easily seen on ponds and wetlands around the State.

Due to the remoteness of the Islands only a few passerine species were able to make the huge ocean crossing and it is estimated that as few as 15 original colonist species accounted for over 100 endemic bird species which evolved there. At least 35 of these had become extinct before Western contact and a further 23 or so have become extinct since that time – resulting in Hawaii often being called the extinction capital of the World, a rather dubious honour! Humans directly or indirectly, in almost all cases, are the main factor, which have contributed to the demise of so many of Hawaii`s unique species.

The most amazing evolution was that of the Hawaiian Honeycreepers (family Fringillidae, subfamily Drepanidinae); which exposed to a variety of food sources and habitat types evolved into more than 50 unique species and sub-species. At least three other families of passerine also evolved including Thrushes, Flycatchers and Warblers. The Australian Honeyeaters (family Meliphagidae) also reached Hawaii and radiated into many species.

Birders to Hawaii today still have an opportunity to see some of the World's rarest and most beautiful species. As well as the numerous wetland species and seabirds there are over twenty five extant endemic forest species including a Buteo Hawk (Hawaiian Hawk); a Corvid (Hawaiian Crow); two Thrushes (Puaiohi and Omao); an Owl (Hawaiian Short-eared owl) and the amazingly varied honeycreepers such as I'iwi, 'Apapane, 'Akiapola'au, 'Amakihi, Palila and 'Akohekohe.

Birding in Hawaii is generally easy, with most areas accessible by road or path. Nearly all the endemic forest birds are confined to the higher elevation native forests, where mosquitoes carrying avian Malaria are fewer, but in some areas these birds can be seen at lower elevation and in non-native vegetation. Many of the lowland wetlands, ponds and reservoirs, coastal areas with high bird populations and important forest areas are contained within National Parks, Special Protection Areas or National Wildlife Refuges and help to protect Hawaii`s unique flora and fauna, whilst also giving visitors the chance to see native species.

A visit to the Hawaiian Islands to view endemic avian fauna is a very special experience and one which should be enjoyed and appreciated, whilst bearing in mind the terrible damage that man has caused and is only now beginning to redress.

Top Sites

*Midway Atoll (or Midway Island)

Satellite View

Midway Atoll is not part of the State of Hawaii; it is a 2.4 square mile (6.2 km²) atoll located in the North Pacific Ocean (near the northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago), about one-third of the way between Honolulu and Tokyo. Midway Atoll is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States. It is less than 140 nautical miles (259 km; 161 mi) east of the International Date Line, about 2,800 nautical miles (5,200 km; 3,200 mi) west of San Francisco and 2,200 nautical miles (4,100 km; 2,500 mi) east of Tokyo. It consists of a ring-shaped barrier reef and several sand islets. The two significant pieces of land, Sand Island and Eastern Island, provide habitat for hundreds of thousands of seabirds.

Hawaii - Hakalau Forest NWR


Satellite View

Restricted Access. Access by arrangement or on organised tours only. For access details birders should contact The Refuge Manager, Hakalau Forest NWR, 32 Kinoole Street, Suite 101, Hilo, HI 96720 or telephone 1 808 933 6915..
This is the first National Wildlife refuge to be established purely for the management of native forest birds and now includes about 16,500 acres of land. Hakalau Forest is one of the best birding spots in Hawaii and is home to many endemic species, many which occur in larger numbers here than any other location.

Hawaii Elepaio, Omao, I'iwi, Apapane, Hawaii Creeper, Hawaii Akepa, Akiapola'au, Hawaii Amakihi and I'o (Hawaiian Hawk) can all be found in this amazing area, and in many cases without too much difficulty. I'iwi and Akepa seem to occur here more commonly than at any other site and one can almost imagine what it would have been like in a native forest a few hundred years ago. The fantastic Akiapola`au is present in small numbers and can sometimes be seen foraging along branches and using its bill to hack and dig insects out from tiny crevices – it is certainly one of Hawaii`s most amazing birds. Red-billed Leiothrix can often be found feeding amongst the vegetation. On the way up to the refuge there are several ranch ponds which hold Koloa (some re-introduced) and occasionally migrant ducks. Erckel's Francolin, Chukar, Kalij Pheasant, Turkey and California Quail can often be seen from the road on the way to the refuge.

Hawaii - Hawaii Volcanoes National Park


Satellite View

Open All Year. Entrance Fee, some Concessions. 24 hour hotline for information on the latestvolcanic activity: 1 808 985 6000
This unique location contains two active volcanoes, tropical beaches and a snow-capped mountain and must be regarded as one of the most fascinating places on Earth. Kilauea Caldera, the sunken center of Kilauea Volcano is still steaming and has been producing lava constantly since 1983, making it the most active volcano in the World. Even without the special birds the area is well worth exploring just for the amazing geological features that can be observed here - where else on Earth can you witness a live volcano with such ease?

The area around Volcano House hotel is a good place to look for Omao, Apapane and Common Amakihi and nearby forested areas hold these species as well as I`iwi and Hawaii Elepaio and introduced Red-billed Leiothrix, Hwamei and Kalij Pheasant. Along Crater Rim Drive White-tailed Tropicbirds can often be seen flying around over the craters and lava flows and even inside the Sulphurous craters and Nene can often be seen along the road here. Chain of Craters Road goes from Kilauea Crater to the coast and is a spectacular drive and can be a good area to look for Hawaiian Hawks (I'o) and Nene, and Red-billed Francolins are present in small numbers, although not yet on the official Hawaii list. At the very end of the road Black Noddies are easy to see as are White-tailed Tropicbirds, especially near the sea arch where they nest.

Kauai - Kilauea Point NWR


Satellite View

Open All Year. Open daily from 10am to 4pm. Closed on some Public Holidays, inc. Christmasand New Years day. $3 per person entrance fee, some concessions. Visitor Center: 1 808 828 0168
Kilauea Point is a must for all birders visiting Kauai. The Point and the offshore Mokuaeae Island are the Northernmost points in the Main Hawaiian Islands. Laysan Albatross nest on the refuge and can easily be seen soaring around the Point between November and July. Young Albatross can be seen waiting for their parents from around late January onwards. Occasionally a Black-footed Albatross will also check out the Point. Great Frigatebirds are usually present all year at Kilauea, but have not nested so far, despite post-breeding season roosts of over 450 birds. In the evenings especially, Frigatebirds chase Red-footed Boobies returning from fishing trips in the hope of stealing an easy meal. Red-footed Boobies are probably the most visible species on the refuge with up to 4000 birds nesting at Kilauea. Brown Boobies are less common at Kilauea but up to 30 or 40 birds can sometimes be seen roosting.

Wedge-tailed Shearwater is the predominant Shearwater species in Hawaii and large numbers nest at Kilauea Point and can be seen from early March when they return from sea to nest in burrows or under bushes. During the summer young downy birds in all stages of growth can be seen along the footpath and under vegetation just a few feet away. Newell's Shearwater is an endemic species found only on Kauai. it nests in the high mountains, but a couple of pairs have been introduced to Kilauea Point in the hope of providing an extra population in a different habitat.

Endemic Hawaiian Petrels do not breed at Kilauea Point, they nest in the interior mountains, but birds pass over Kilauea in the evening just before dark and can be seen from the overlook, heading inland. Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds are both present and between mid-February and August Red-tailed Tropicbirds put on fascinating courtship displays, where one bird circles over the other – often just yards from visitors. Nene or Hawaiian Goose, the State bird of Hawaii has a flourishing flock at Kilauea Point, and numbers over 100 birds and adults with young can often be seen around the refuge between November and April.

Kauai - Kokee State Park & The Alakai Swamp

Satellite View

Open access all year. No entrance fee. Camping restrictions.
Kokee SP and the Alakai Swamp are the places to see Kauai's endemic forest species - Kauai Elapaio, Kauai Amakihi, Anianiau, Puaiohi, Akikiki, Akekee, Apapane and I'iwi are all present, although a bit of luck is needed to see all eight. Red Junglefowl, the original chicken brought to Kauai by the Polynesians is present here and are mostly pure and countable. Nene are frequently seen on the meadow by the museum or further up the road but can sometimes be elusive. The Kalalau Valley Overlook has a breathtaking vista of the valley and ocean and is a good spot to look for White-tailed Tropicbirds wheeling around below. Introduced White-rumped Shama, Northern and Red-crested Cardinals, Hwamei, Japanese Whiteeye, House Finch, Common Myna and Spotted and Zebra Doves are all easily seen anywhere in the vicinity.

Hawaiian Petrels and Newell`s Shearwaters can be heard calling here at night during April to September, but are hard to see as the area is often shrouded in mist during the nights and there is little light unless a full moon is present. Band-rumped Storm Petrels probably nest in Waimea Canyon, although so far no nest has been discovered. Koloa or Hawaiian Duck are occasionally seen in the wetter parts of the Alakai Swamp and Peregrine Falcon and Golden Eagle have been recorded here in the past.

Maui - Haleakala National Park


Satellite View

Open All Year. Entrance Fee, some Concessions. Park Information 1 808 572 7749
The undoubted centerpiece of Maui is Haleakala Crater. It is the World's largest dormant volcano and is 7.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide and last erupted 200 years ago. On the way up Skylarks, Chukar and Grey and Black Francolins are often easy to see along the road, as are Hawaiian Owls and Ring-necked Pheasants. In the wooded areas on the way up there are usually Red-billed Leiothrix, Northern Cardinal and Hwamei. In the scrub zone Common Amakihi, Apapane and Short-eared owls can be seen alongside the endemic Silversword, a relation of the Sunflower. At the very summit it is a good place to look for Chukar and at night during March to September Hawaiian Petrels, although they are often hard to see as they come and go in the dark. Nene can often be seen near the Park Headquarters, and there are usually a few Northern Mockingbirds hanging around too. Nearby at Hosmer Grove endemic forest birds can be seen – Maui Creeper, Hawaii Amakihi, I'iwi, Apapane and it is possible that a walk conducted by the Nature Conservancy into the adjacent Waikomoi Preserve might produce Akohekohe or Maui Parrotbill, both endemic to Maui.

Oahu - James Campbell NWR


Satellite View

Restricted Access. No Entrance Fees. Guided Tours outside nesting season - August 1st - February 15th. Telephone: 1 808 637 6330 for information and tour reservations.
James Campbell NWR is one of Hawaii's premier wetland sites. The main purpose of the refuge is to provide habitat for four endangered birds, the endemic Hawaiian Stilt, Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Moorhen and Hawaiian Duck. The native Black-crowned Night Heron and the introduced Cattle Egret are also present in large numbers. A single Fulvous Whistling Duck remains from a small 1980s population which probably colonised naturally. The refuge is a great magnet for migrant Wildfowl and Shorebirds and species such as Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Garganey, Lesser and Greater Scaup, American and Eurasian Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Whimbrel, Killdeer, Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plovers, Black-tailed Godwit and Spotted Sandpiper have all been recorded, some annually. James Campbell is the only place in the Main Islands where Bristle-thighed Curlew occur regularly and introduced species found here include African Silverbills, Red Avadavats, Chestnut Mannikins and Waxbills.


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 326

As at September 2010


Number of endemics: 33 [or as many as 48 according to some authorities]

Nene Branta sandvicensis Hawaiian Duck Anas wyvilliana Laysan Duck Anas laysanensis Hawaiian Coot Fulica alai Bishop's Oo Moho bishopi Hawaiian Crow Corvus hawaiiensis Elepaio Chasiempis sandwichensis Kamao Myadestes myadestinus Olomao Myadestes lanaiensis Omao Myadestes obscurus Puaiohi Myadestes palmeri Millerbird Acrocephalus familiaris Nihoa Finch Telespiza ultima Laysan Finch Telespiza cantans Ou Psittirostra psittacea Palila Loxioides bailleui Maui Parrotbill Pseudonestor xanthophrys Kauai Amakihi Hemignathus kauaiensis Common Amakihi Hemignathus virens Oahu Amakihi Hemignathus chloris Anianiau Hemignathus parvus Nukupuu Hemignathus lucidus Akiapolaau Hemignathus munroi Kauai Creeper Oreomystis bairdi Hawaii Creeper Oreomystis mana Maui Creeper Paroreomyza montana Oahu Creeper Paroreomyza maculata Akekee Loxops caeruleirostris Akepa Loxops coccineus Iiwi Vestiaria coccinea Akohekohe Palmeria dolei Apapane Himatione sanguinea Poo-uli Melamprosops phaeosoma


iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific

H. Douglas Pratt, Phillip Bruner, Delwyn Berrett Paperback - 520 pages (31 December, 1987) Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691023999

Buy this book from NHBS.com

A Pocket Guide to Hawaii's Birds

by H. Douglas Pratt Mutual Publishing December, 1996 Paperback

ISBN: 1566471451

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Collins Field Guide: Birds of New Zealand, Hawaii, Central and West Pacific

By Ber Van Perlo | 256 pages | 95 colour plates | Harper Collins | Hardcover | 2011

ISBN: 9780007287383

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Enjoying Birds and Other Wildlife in Hawaii

by H. Douglas Pratt Mutual Publishing, 2003; 195 pages; paper; Price: $18.95 in U.S.

ISBN: 0935180001

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Hawaii's Beautiful Birds

H Douglas Pratt 64 pages, 178 col photos. Mutual Publishing 1996

ISBN: 1566471206

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Hawaii's Birds

Hawaii Audubon Society 2005

ISBN: 1889708003

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Hawaiian Birdlife

By Andrew J. Berger 2nd EditionPublished by University of Hawaii PressHardback 260 pages

ISBN: 0824807421

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Kaua'I

Jim Denny Paperback - 128 pages (May 1999) University of Hawaii Press

ISBN: 0824820975

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birdwatcher's Guide to Hawaii

Rick Soehren Paperback - 232 pages (1996) University of Hawaii Press

ISBN: 0824816838

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Voices of Hawaii's Birds

by H. Douglas Pratt 2 cassettes 1996

ISBN: 63960

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

State Bird

Nene Branta sandwicensis


Albatross Project


Albatrosses are hard-working athletes. To be a successful albatross means having some amazing skills, including the ability to make tremendous long-distance flights. Keep reading to introduce yourself to the bird Family Diomedeidae…

Hawaii Audubon Society


Newsletter extract: With a goal of reestablishing viable populations of `alala or Hawaiian crows on the Island of Hawai'i, the State of Hawai'i's Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have released a draft environmental assessment outlining five potential new release sites for captively raised 'alala.

Kilauea Point Natural History Association


Kilauea Point Natural History Association (KPNHA) works in cooperation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to promote interpretive, educational, and scientific projects that focus on Hawaii's islands, among the most unique and interesting islands in the world. This website gives you an introduction to KPNHA and the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge…

Nature Conservancy in Hawaii


The Hawaiian Islands have been called the biological crown jewels of the United States. On just eight main islands, with a combined land area of only 6,500 square miles, exist virtually all of the world's major ecological zones, the only tropical rain forests in the United States, and more than 10,000 native plant and animal species found nowhere else on Earth. Today Hawaii's native terrestrial ecosystems are among the most endangered in the world. Nearly two-thirds of the islands' original forest cover has already been lost, including one-half of the vital rain forests. What remains is home to thousands of native Hawaiian species, including more than one third of the birds and plants on the U.S. endangered species list…


Abbreviations Key: See the appropriate Continent Page (or Country Page of those used on country sub-divisions)

Hakalau NWR


Satellite View

Hakalau is the only National Wildlife Refuge in the country established for forest birds. Like our Rainforest Birdwatching tour, Hakalau has an incredible density of endemic forest birds…

Ka'elepulu Wetland


Satellite View

This privately-owned wetland was created in 1995 to provide habitat for native Hawaiian waterbirds as well as migratory birds such as the Golden Plover. Ongoing work in the wetland includes removing invasive plants, enhancing nesting and feeding areas, and keeping the waterways open…

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge


Satellite View

Kaua'i's three National Wildlife Refuges share a mystical beauty. Discover hundreds of seabirds nesting atop sheer cliffs; enjoy ever-changing views of a valley where taro farming coexists with endangered waterbirds; and explore; and explore Kaua'i's colorful past by visiting the famous Kilauea Point Lighthouse…

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Annette's Adventures

Tour Operator

Annette's Adventures, in conjunction with Pleasant Island Holidays, provides a personalized travel planning service to guide you to a memorable birding vacation. Custom tailored birding packages, just for you, can include any or all of these islands…

Birding Pal


Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…


Tour Operator

BirdQuest run an annual tour to Hawaii, usually in March…

Hawaii Forest & Trail

Tour Operator

Hawaii Forest & Trail takes small groups on guided tours to remote private lands and limited access wildlife refuges on the Big Island of Hawaii. Hawaii Forest & Trail takes small groups on guided tours to remote private lands and limited access wildlife refuges on the Big Island of Hawaii. We offer fascinating adventures to seldom-visited areas, providing you with a rare glimpse into the unique ecosystems and remarkable natural history of Hawaii. We are committed to educating visitors and residents about Hawaii's ecology and the conservation of its endangered species.

Oahu Nature Tours

Tour Operator

Oahu Nature Tours specializes in personally guided nature adventures for small groups to see Hawaii's unique native bird and plant species. Spectacular views, excellent photographic opportunities and information about Oahu's geology, archaeology, mythology and history await you on our fun and informative adventures.

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2007 [03 March] - Scott Bowers


On this trip, Barbara and I flew from San Francisco to Hilo, Hawaii. We rented a car, and drove around the island. Next, we swapped the regular car for a Ford F150 Truck as 4WD is required to get to the top on Mauna Kea. The truck was a bit of overkill, but we did use the 4WD to get to a remote wildlife refuge and to get to the peak of the island…

2008 [04 April] - Mike Watson


Aloha! Or, in ornithological terms, ‘welcome to the world capital of endangered species!’ Our latest tour to this wonderful archipelago was our best yet, with a clean sweep of sightings of every extant landbird in the main islands, including: Akiapolaau; with its unfeasible bill; the ever-elusive Akikiki; Akohekohe; Maui Parrotbill and Puaiohi….

2010 [04 April] - Mike Watson


Our seventh visit to the ‘world capital of endangered species’ recorded a modest total of 93 species but these included all 24 endemic to the ‘main’ islands (or 26 if the five forms of elepaio are split into three species), six of which are classified in Birdlife International’s ‘critically endangered’ category: Palila (the last of Hawaii’s grosbeak honeycreepers); Akohekohe (the spectacular largest surviving honeycreeper); Maui Parrotbill (ever-elusive and glimpsed by only two of us); Akikiki (a.k.a. Kauai Creeper); Akekee (a.k.a. Kauai Akepa) and Puaiohi, one of Hawaii’s two remaining solitaires…

2012 [10 October] - Bob Sundstrom

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…A Hawaiian Hawk soared over, the only native hawk species in the islands. A good omen? We hadn’t gone more than two hundred yards when we stopped to get our binoculars on a Hawaii Amakihi, a small yellow-green bird found only on the islands of Hawaii and Maui, as it flitted among the branches and red ohia flowers. Now a downward trill announced a Hawaii Creeper close at hand, one of three endangered endemics we hoped to find in the refuge. Often a hard bird to see well, this male Hawaii Creeper flew to a bare branch in a small tree very near the trail, allowing a superb view—possibly the best view I’ve had of this bird in leading forty-odd Hawaii tours…

2013 [03 March] - Bob Sundstrom

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…A strong, steady breeze ruffled the waves as we stood on the high bluffs of Kilauea Point on the island of Kauai, looking out over the blue Pacific. A steady stream of Red-footed Boobies winged by to feed offshore, huge white seabirds with turquoise bills. Great Frigatebirds hung above like enormous bats, sometimes roughly intercepting boobies in flight to pirate their prey. White-tailed Tropicbirds flapped steadily back and forth, trailing long, slender tail plumes. Laysan Albatrosses glided by below, adult birds from among the dozens of pairs that nest on the refuge located at the Kilauea Point. We trained spotting scopes on a nestling albatross, a great mound of gray fluff under the shade of nearby ironwood tree…

2013 [04 April] - Simon Boyes

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…From a dune-top viewpoint we can watch a Humpback Whale breaching in one direction, and wildfowl on the James Campbell Wildlife Refuge in the other. These include Hawaiian Coot, a few Black-crowned Night Herons, Hawaiian Stilts (the endemic subspecies of Black-necked Stilt) as well as transitory Laughing Gull and Common Tern…

2013 [05 May] - Keith Taylor - Cruise

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…The winds were now non-existent but birds were reasonably abundant and Blue, Fin, and Humpback Whales, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, and Dall’s Porpoise were noted, possibly because we were now fifty miles off Monterey…

2013 [10 October] - Bob Dundstrom

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…The next morning began with a visit to an adjacent park, where glorious White Terns fluttered above the banyan trees. The rest of the morning was devoted to searching out the island’s endemic forest birds—Oahu Elepaio and Oahu Amakihi—as well as such fancy non-natives as elegant White-rumped Shamas and jewel-like Red-billed Leiothrix….

2013 [11 November] - Mark Van Beirs

PDF Report

…ther great birds seen included Nene, Hawaiian Hawk, Bristle-thighed Curlew, the stunning Palila (the last of the Hawaii Grosbeak Honeycreepers), the lovely Maui Alauahio, Hawaii Creeper, the orangey red Akepa, Kauai and Hawaii Elepaios, Omao and Oahu and Kauai Amakihis….

2014 [02 February] - Bob Sundstrom

PDF Report

The Spring Hawaii tour makes the most of the natural history of three main Hawaiian islands: Hawaii, Kauai, and Oahu, and their superb seabirds, rare one-of-a-kind forest birds in beautiful tropical forests, lovely seacoasts and interior mountain ridges, and massive volcanoes. Hawaii also offers the most accessible volcanic realm in the world, balmy weather, and superb food. Lodging is nice too, and three of the four hotels where we stay back right up to the ocean shoreline…

2014 [10 October] - Bob Sundstrom

PDF Report

...The good luck held. On the island of Kauai, at 4,000 feet in the native forest, we had superb views of native forest birds: Anianiaus, Kauai Amakihis, and Kauai Elepaios—all island endemics. Later on the Big Island, the day after our sparkling visit to Hakalau, we found another endangered endemic— the Palila—within a few minutes after hopping out of the vans at our first stop. At the same spot, a handsome Pueo drifted close overhead...

2015 [01 January] - Keith Taylor

PDF Report

...The Piimauna Road to the golf course was the next stop at one-fifty where Erckel’s Francolins and Nene were photographed on the greens. A two-mile drive up the Mauna Loa Road brought us to Kipuka Puaulu, also known as Bird Park where three tame Erckel’s Francolins and a tame male and female Kalij Pheasant were fed by hand and photographed at two feet....

2015 [03 March] - Bob Sundstrom

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...Just before dinner we watched a lovely White Tern sitting atop a single egg on a bare branch. A very full day on Oahu included good views of two island endemics, Oahu Amakihi and the endangered Oahu Elepaio.

2015 [04 April] - David Kuhn and Nigel Jones

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...Here we listen to the calls of two more endemics, the Apapane and the Iiwi. Both are red, but the Iiwi has a long curved red bill, for feeding from (and helping to pollinate) the red ohia trees. We walk on and enter a forest of koa trees where we find a Hawaiian Hawk and best of all the endemic Akiapolaau.

2015 [05 May] - Big Island & Kaua’i,

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...Here we had good views of apapane and also of common amakihi. In the same spot we saw a couple of Erckel’s francolins, a flock of red-masked parakeets, white-eyes, and saffron finches. On the way up we’d seen three Kalij pheasants in the roadside.

2015 [09 September] - Lance Tanino - Kona Fall Seabirding Expedition


In the second hour, we had our first two of four JUAN FERNANDEZ PETRELS (Pterodroma externa) for the day. They will eventually make their way to Chile for their breeding season. We eventually observed two more migratory seabird species in the afternoon. We saw a lone BLACK-WINGED PETREL (Pterodroma nigripennis) as well as a SOOTY SHEARWATER (Puffinus griseus; possibly two).

2015 [10 October] - Bob Sundstrom

PDF Report

...As we enjoyed repeated views of Iiwis, patience brought us a faint trilled song. Walking to a new overlook on the forest edge, we were soon watching a couple of small gray-green birds climbing along branches like nuthatches. They were Hawaii Creepers, another endangered one-island endemic, and they offered repeated views, some right at eye level....

2016 [01 January] - Lance Tanino - Big Island


...We left Pepeekeo at 5:45 A.M. and headed to Hilo to a parking lot where Java Sparrows were recently known to roost, however, on this important morning of our Big Day Big Island, they seemed to have decided to roost elsewhere that night. One of our hotspot locations of the day, Lokowaka Pond, was an amazing way to start our day. We watched over 5000 Cattle Egrets leave their nesting roost in two continuous massive flights, one headed west and south. Our first vagrant of the day was an immature female Belted Kingfisher was spotted across the street from the pond...

2016 [03 March] - Bob Sundstrom

PDF Report

...The following day we explored mamane/naio forest on the dry, western face of Mauna Kea. Here is the last holdout of the Palila, an island endemic that looks something like a Pine Grosbeak, and a species found only in this forest. Our good luck held, as we soon were treated to nice views of Palila, as well as a distinctive, dry forest form of Hawaii Elepaio and a fancy exotic, the Redbilled Leiothrix....

2016 [04 April] - Dan Lane & Megan Edwards Crewe


...a host of introduced foreigners awaited: dozens of heavy-billed Java Sparrows and bounding swarms of Common Waxbills nibbled grass seeds on the park's ballfields, Red-vented Bulbuls and Red-crested Cardinals sang from treetops, and Saffron Finches rested on baseball backstops, while screaming Rose-ringed Parakeets flew past overhead. It wasn't all exotics though; we had wonderful views of delicate White Terns as they prospected for nest sites on various tree branches, while American Golden-Plovers scampered across the cut lawn...

2016 [04 April] - Pete Morris

PDF Report

...Out of the respectable total of just 96 species that we recorded, a shocking 42 species are introductions to the islands! Of the remaining 54, no fewer than 24 are species of conservation concern! Four are classifed by Birdlife International as Critically Endangered: Palila (the last of Hawaii’s grosbeak honeycreepers); Akikiki (Kauai Creeper); Akekee (Kauai Akepa) and Puaiohi (Kauai Small Thrush), one of Hawaii’s two remaining solitaires. A further seven are classifed as Endangered: Hawaiian Duck; Newell’s Shearwater; Oahu Elepaio; Akiapolaau (with its amazing bill); Hawaii Creeper; Akepa (the only hole-nesting honeycreeper); and Maui Alauahio (or Creeper)...

2016 [10 October] - Bob Sundstrom

PDF Report

...Our 2016 Fall Hawaii tour, over nine days and across three islands, began on the island of Oahu, in Waikiki, with dinner on the hotel lanai overlooking the Pacific, just as the sun set on the horizon...

2017 [04 April] - Dan Lane & Doug Gochfeld


...As is the case with most visitors to Hawaii, we started off on Oahu, since the air hub for the island is the Honolulu airport. From our base in Waikiki, we explored a good portion of the island during our full day there, starting off at Kapiolani Park right across the street, and immediately picking up a bunch of established introduced species under a canopy of calling and courting White Terns.....

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Hawaii Island B&B Asociation


Innkeepers dedicated to providing unique and memorable accommodations. Member inns are county licensed, independently inspected and must meet or exceed our standards of quality, service and safety. Check with our individual inns and their web sites for availability and more local information.

Horizon Guesthouse - McCandless Ranch


You are invited to experience Horizon Guest House, an elegant, exclusive resort situated on over 40 acres of sloping pasture lands (1,100 ft. elevation) on the side of Mauna Loa. We are on the Kona Coast, surrounded by McCandless Ranch, (15,000 acres) ensuring the utmost in privacy and tranquility…

Macadamia Meadows Farm B&B


Macadamia Meadows Farm Bed and Breakfast is for those seeking the real Hawaii. Our spacious country home, surrounded by our Macadamia Nut orchard, is situated on eight plus acres in the historic Kau District, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Our area boasts two unique beaches.

Pomaika'i Farm B&B


Experience living on a century-old working macadamia nut/Kona coffee farm, surrounded by birds, tropical fruit, and exotic flowers. All the mac nuts you can eat, plus hearty farm breakfast…


Hawai'i Island Festival of Birds


Hawai'i Island Festival of Birds – Ha'akula Manu September 15-18, 2017 - Celebrate Hawaii’s unique blend of birds – from native honeycreepers found nowhere else in the world to common backyard birds from five continents. The annual Hawai'i Island Festival of Birds supports the Hawai'i Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail and the Hawai'i Wildlife Center.


Bishop Museum Hawaii


Hawaii is the Endangered Species Capital of the World. With 100s of plants and animals listed as Endangered or Threatened, there are more endangered species per square mile on these islands than any other place on the planet.

Koke'e Natural History Museum


Koke'e Natural History Museum is a little museum with heart open 365 days a year. Koke'e Museum provides interpretive programs and exhibitions about Kaua'i's ecology, geology and climatology. Kokee's Museum also provides basic information on trail conditions in Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Parks.

University of Hawai'i at Manoa


Research interests of various members of the zoology department…


Bourbon, Bastards and Birds


The strange and terrible saga of being a birdwatcher… birder stationed on Midway Attol

Other Links

Birds of Hawaii


Essay & Photos

Birds of Hawaii


Image collection…

Birdwatching on the Big Island of Hawaii.


Below you will find information about birdwatching, birding, and and bird watching tours on the Big Island of Hawaii. These links are meant to help you find the best locations to bird watch on the island. If you have any additional links or books that you'd like to share, please contact us and we'll add them to the list.

Endangered Birds of Hawaii



Hawaii's Endemic Birds


The endemic landbirds of Hawaii, particularly the Hawaiian honeycreepers, an endemic subfamily of the cardueline finches, are one of the world's most dramatic examples of adaptive radiation and speciation in island ecosystems…

Hawaiis Birds


A list - some annotated.

Hawaiis Endemic Birds


It's no vacation for the islands' native birds and the people trying to save them. Species that thrived until humans arrived around 1,600 years ago now depend on wise management in the few oases in which they still hang on.

Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project


Welcome to the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project at MauiForstBird.org! Thank you for for visiting our site. Below is a listing and description of our site's departments. You can use the menu to your left to navigate this site…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Jack Jeffrey


or see: http://www.coffeetimes.com/birds.htm

Photographer - Peter LaTourrette - Bird Photo Gallery


Photographs of birds of Hawaii by Peter LaTourrette.