What Birds Live In Hawaii

Introduction to Hawaii’s birdlife

Hawaii boasts a diverse birdlife, with over 100 species found nowhere else in the world. From bright-colored honeycreepers to the majestic nene goose and endangered alala crow, Hawaii is home to some of the most unique and fascinating birds on Earth. The state takes pride in protecting and preserving these precious creatures through numerous conservation programs, making it an excellent destination for birdwatching enthusiasts.

These birds have evolved in isolation for millions of years, resulting in distinctive characteristics that differentiate them from their mainland counterparts. They have adapted to various habitats across the Hawaiian archipelago’s islands, from lowland forests to high-altitude shrublands. Many of them are endemic or native to only one island due to different ecological niches and physical barriers between islands.

Furthermore, Hawaii’s birdlife has suffered substantial human-caused impacts such as habitat loss and introduced predators like rats, feral cats, and mongooses. Despite these challenges, many of these birds are still thriving today thanks to ongoing conservation efforts.

Pro Tip: If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii for birdwatching, consider hiring a local guide who knows the best spots for observing the islands’ unique avian fauna.

Hawaii’s native birds may be beautiful and rare, but they still have to deal with the island’s vog and annoying tourists taking endless selfies.

Native Birds of Hawaii

Paragraph 1 – Hawaii is known for its diverse range of bird species that are unique to the island nation. These birds are known as the indigenous avifauna of Hawaii.

Paragraph 2 – The Native Birds of Hawaii belong to various families, including honeycreepers, thrushes, finches, and more. Some of the most popular species are the Apapane, I’iwi, Nene, Maui Parrotbill, and Omao. The Apapane and I’iwi are honeycreepers and are known for their bright red feathers. The Nene is the state bird of Hawaii and can only be found on Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island. The Maui Parrotbill and Omao are native to Maui and can be found in the Haleakala National Park.

Paragraph 3 – The Native Birds of Hawaii are a crucial part of Hawaii’s ecosystem, playing a vital role in pollination, seed dispersal, and helping to control insect populations. However, many of these bird species are endangered due to habitat loss, invasive species, and human activities such as hunting and urbanization. Protecting these birds is crucial to preserving Hawaii’s ecosystem.

Paragraph 4 – To protect the Native Birds of Hawaii, it is essential to support conservation efforts and avoid activities that harm these birds’ habitats. Some suggestions include supporting local conservation organizations that work to protect these bird species, reducing pesticide use, and respecting bird habitats by avoiding disturbance or destruction. By taking these steps, we can help to preserve Hawaii’s unique bird populations for generations to come.

Why did the ‘I’iwi‘ love to sing in Hawaii? Because even the birds know it’s better to live in paradise.


With its bright crimson feathers and curved orange bill, this bird is a symbol of Hawaiian royalty. The passerine bird, known scientifically as the Vestiaria coccinea or ‘I’iwi‘, is notable for its unique ability to feed on nectar while hovering in midair. Its long curved bill and brush-tipped tongue enable it to extract nectar from tubular flowers.

The ‘I’iwi‘s natural habitat is at higher altitudes, mostly found in forests with Ohia trees on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai. While historically revered for their striking plumage, this species has faced habitat loss due to human interference and avian diseases like avian malaria. Conservation efforts have been underway to protect the ‘I’iwi population with reintroduction programs proposed for some Hawaiian forests.

These efforts include habitat restoration projects that involve planting the favored Ohia trees, which provide food and nesting sites; predator control measures to reduce the number of feral cats preying on adult birds; and mosquito control programs aimed at curtailing avian malaria transmission. It is essential to protect the habitats of these beautiful birds so that they can continue playing their crucial role in pollination ecosystems.

Why fly all the way to Hawaii when you can just read about the ‘Apapane bird‘ and feel like you’re already there?


The strikingly colorful Hawaiian bird known as the ‘Apapane’ is a notable member of Hawaii’s native avifauna. This bird is one of the most common and widespread species in the Hawaiian Islands, found from sea level up to the highest mountains.

Below is a table providing more information on this unique bird, including its scientific name, size, and habitat preferences.

Common Name Scientific Name Size Habitat
Apapane Himatione sanguinegens 5 inches (13cm) Native forests and shrublands

Aside from its vibrant plumage, the ‘Apapane’ also has a unique feeding behavior – it feeds on nectar from native flowering plants using its long, curved bill.

Interestingly, Hawaiian mythology often features birds like the ‘Apapane’ as messengers or symbols of various gods and goddesses. These birds were given great respect by Hawaiians for their beauty and significance in their culture.

Why did the ‘Amakihi cross the road? To get away from tourists taking selfies.


The Amakihi is a common honeycreeper songbird endemic to the Hawaiian islands. With a distinctive yellow underbelly and greenish upperparts, the bird varies in size depending on its location within the islands.

Characteristic Data
Scientific Name Chlorodrepanis virens
Average Length 4.7 inches
Average Weight 0.37 ounces
Diet Nectar, insects, spiders, fruit, and pollen

In addition to their varied diet, Amakihi have a unique ability to metabolize nectar more efficiently than other honeycreepers due to the presence of enzymes in their digestive system. This adaptation has allowed them to occupy different ecological niches throughout Hawaii’s diverse habitats.

Fun fact: The name “Amakihi” is derived from the Hawaiian words “ama” meaning “striped”, and “kihi” meaning “hem or border”.

Source: University of Hawaii at Manoa Department of Biology.

Don’t mess with the Nene, the official state bird of Hawaii – they’re fiercely territorial and will straight-up honk at you if you get too close.


This magnificent bird, also known as the Hawaiian Goose, is the official state bird of Hawaii. It’s a medium-sized bird that has a unique appearance and habits that distinguish it from other members of its family. The Nene is an endangered species and can only be found on the islands of Hawaii.

Unlike other geese, the Nene spends most of its time on the ground rather than in water. Its triangular-shaped beak helps it feed on grasses, seeds, and insects. The Nene is primarily gray-brown with black legs, a head, and neck. They have beautiful blue-gray eyes and feathers that rustle when they preen themselves.

Nenes were once critically endangered due to hunting and habitat loss but have made a significant recovery thanks to conservation efforts. Today there are about 2,500 individuals residing in the wilds of the Hawaiian islands.

The remarkable thing about Nenes is their monogamous nature during mating season. Species preservation programs introduced inbreeding into this close-knit community to save them from extinction while maintaining genetic diversity. To ensure their protection, conservationists trained dogs to track down feral cats around breeding areas since these are predators who pose an immediate threat to Nene eggs and hatchlings.

Overall, Nenes are fascinating birds with distinctive characteristics that make them stand out amongst other animals we encounter daily. Efforts will continue continually to raise awareness for their species risk endangerment posed by natural causes or human actions all over our planet.

Why did the ‘Akiapola’au cross the road? To get to the other tree, of course.


The unique bird species, the Akiapola’au is an endemic Hawaiian honeycreeper. Its name represents its uniquely adapted bill which is used for several purposes like pecking, digging and prying insects.

The following table shows some key features of Akiapola’au bird:

Feature Detail
Scientific Name Hemignathus munroi
Habitat Found in mixed forests of ohia and koa trees on the Big Island of Hawaii
Size It often grows between 5.9-6.7 inches long
Diet They feed on arthropods, nectar, buds, and small fruits

The Akiapola’au bird’s population is highly threatened due to habitat destruction and loss of native forests. Conservation measures are needed to maintain the balance of this unique bird species in Hawaii.

Pro Tip: The best way to observe these birds is by visiting their natural habitats during the early morning hours when they are most active.

Why did the Hawaiian Hawk break up with his girlfriend? She was always talon him what to do.

Hawaiian Hawk (Io)

The Io is a majestic bird of prey that is native to the Hawaiian islands. This stunning raptor is also known as the Hawaiian Hawk and holds great significance in Hawaiian culture due to its representation of royalty and power. With dark brown feathers and piercing yellow eyes, this bird has a wingspan of up to 3 feet and can weigh up to 2 pounds. Known for its hunting expertise, the Io primarily feeds on rodents, insects, and small birds.

This robust predator was considered sacred by ancient Hawaiians and was once reserved solely for their use, with commoners forbidden from harming or possessing it. The Io’s wings were often used as adornments for ceremonial clothing.

Interestingly, the Io is one of only four hawk species found in Hawaii, making it a critical part of the archipelago’s unique ecology. Due to habitat loss and hunting pressures, however, the population of these iconic birds is declining. Efforts are being made to protect these beautiful animals and maintain their importance in Hawaiian culture.

Legend has it that an old woman once saved an injured hawk from certain death by nursing it back to health over many days. In gratitude for her kindness, the hawk gifted her with a powerful feather that bestowed upon her immense strength and supernatural abilities – including communicating with animals!

Move aside, tourists, the real locals here are the endemic birds of Hawaii – they put on quite the show!

Endemic Birds of Hawaii

The native avifauna of Hawaii includes unique species that are not found anywhere else in the world. Here is a comprehensive list of endemic birds of Hawaii with their respective scientific names and a brief description of their attributes and habitat.

Common Name Scientific Name Description Habitat
Apapane Himatione sanguinea A bright red bird with a curved beak and white underparts Forested areas of Hawaiian Islands
I’iwi Drepanis coccinea A scarlet, black, and white bird with a long, curved beak Forests, primarily at higher elevations
Puaiohi Myadestes palmeri An olive-gray bird with a slender beak and brown eyes Wet forests of Kauai
Akekee Loxops caeruleirostris A small bird with a light blue-gray head and a yellow-greenish body Moist, montane forests in Kauai and Maui
Akohekohe Palmeria dolei A greenish-yellow bird with red feathers around the eyes and a long, curved beak Wet mountain forests of Maui
Palila Loxioides bailleui A yellowish green bird with a thick pale yellow beak and a distinctive yellow head Subalpine dry forest areas on Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Pro Tip: When birdwatching in Hawaii, be aware of the fragile ecosystem and respect the birds by keeping your distance and avoiding any disturbance to their habitat.

Why did the Kauai endangered seabird cross the road? To get to the less endangered side, of course.

Kauai Endangered Seabirds

The oceanic island of Kauai is home to several threatened species of seabirds. These birds are struggling due to habitat loss, predation by invasive species and impact from human activity. Conservation measures are being taken on the island that aim to address these issues and preserve the population of these endemic seabirds for future generations.

The endangered seabirds of Kauai have unique nesting habits and egg-laying patterns that make them particularly vulnerable to disruption. Their breeding sites are often located in secluded cliff faces or under dense vegetation, which limits their accessibility but also makes them susceptible to environmental changes.

Despite efforts to preserve their habitats, research shows that the populations have declined significantly over recent years. Urgent conservation measures such as predator control, habitat restoration and public education programs are crucial if we want to save these iconic species from extinction.

According to a report by the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service, Kauai’s endangered seabird population faces numerous threats including development, non-native predators, disease and climate change. To combat these threats, community-based conservation initiatives have been formed across the island. These programs work in partnership with government agencies and community groups in order to protect Kauai’s unique ecosystem for future generations.

If you’re looking for rare birds on Oahu, just follow the locals – they always know where to find the latest trendy hotspot.

Oahu Endemic Birds

The unique bird species that inhabit the island of Oahu in Hawaii are known as the Oahu endemic avian creatures. These birds have adapted to the specific ecological conditions of this area, and the result is an array of fascinating feathered beings to discover.

Bird Name Scientific Name Habitat
Oahu Amakihi Chlorodrepanis flava chloropyga Native forests
Oahu Elepaio Chasiempis ibidis obscurus Lowland and montane forests
Oahu Akepa Loxops woltersi Near-extinct at high elevations (Lower Pigs, Mount Kaala)

The Oahu Amakihi, Oahu Elepaio, and Oahu Akepa are among ten native bird species found only on this island. These delicate creatures face many challenges such as deforestation, habitat loss, human-made diseases and natural disasters like hurricanes. Their threatened status makes seeing them in their natural habitats all the more precious.

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii or already residing there, make sure to visit Oahu’s lowland and montane forests to catch a glimpse of these fascinating endemic birds before they become extinct. The opportunity may not come again.

Maui’s endemic birds may be cute and colorful, but don’t let their charming appearance fool you – they’re still experts at avoiding tourists.

Maui Endemic Birds

The avifauna of Maui Island in Hawaii, known as the Valley Isle, displays an exceptional diversity that can be attributed to its unique and isolated geographical location. The island is home to several endemic bird species found nowhere else on Earth. These birds have adapted perfectly to the volcanic terrain, lush forests, and dry shrublands that cover the island.

These Maui-specific birds hold an immensely important place in Hawaii’s natural history and are deserving of preservation efforts. For instance, the Maui Parrotbill is a critically endangered bird with only about 500 left in the world. It is a non-migratory bird endemic to Maui Island and plays a significant ecological role in pollinating ‘ohe shrubs.

The best time for birders to spot these fascinating winged creatures is during the early morning hours or late afternoon when they are active and vocalizing. During sightings, it is advisable to maintain distance and avoid disruption or harassment so that they can continue their daily routines peacefully.

It is worth noting that many of the Hawaiian Islands’ endemic avifauna have vanished since human settlement because of habitat loss, introduced predators, disease transmission from other animals, or outright hunting. Through conservation efforts such as habitat protection, predator control programs and ecological monitoring Hui Manu Coalition and others might help protect these incredible birds for future generations.

Looks like Molokai is the only bird-friendly island in Hawaii, the rest are just winging it.

Molokai Endemic Birds

The birds that belong to the Molokai region are species that can only be found there, making them Molokai Endemic Birds. These precious creatures can be identified by their unique features and play an important role in their ecosystems. The bird population of Molokai is diverse and includes several critically endangered species due to habitat loss and invasive predators.

Among the most iconic species of Molokai Endemic Birds are the Kaua’i ‘O’o, which unfortunately went extinct in 1987, and the rare Molokai ‘Alauahio, a songbird found only in the montane wet forests of Molokai. In addition to these two species, other notable examples include the Laysan Albatross, Hawaiian Crow, and Oahu Elepaio.

It is imperative that we protect these rare birds as they have high ecological importance as seed dispersers and pollinators. Therefore many organizations have taken initiatives such as habitat restoration projects to save these birds from extinction.

According to a recent study conducted by Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology researchers, the number of endemic Hawaiian forest birds has declined by nearly half since 1970 due to introduced diseases like avian malaria, climate change and habitat destruction.

If you’re planning a bird-watching trip to Lanai, just remember that the birds are the locals, so be sure to respect their turf.

Lanai Endemic Birds

The unique endemic bird species of Lanai Island, Hawaii, are a fascinating sight to observe. Only found on this island, these birds have evolved and adapted to their surroundings over time. Endemic Lanai birds include the Apapane, Omao, and Maui Parrotbill. These birds can be found in various habitats such as forests, shrublands, and grasslands.

The Apapane is the most common bird species on Lanai Island and has a bright crimson color when it is an adult. The Omao is a forest-dwelling bird with an olive-green body and white underparts. Maui Parrotbills are small passerine birds with a parrot-like bill that feeds mainly on insects.

To preserve these rare avian species, efforts have been made by conservation groups to eradicate invasive predators such as rats and feral cats from the island. Additionally, maintaining pristine habitats for these animals to thrive in has been essential.

Pro Tip: When observing endemic Lanai Birds or any bird species in Hawaii, ensure that you do not disturb their natural habitat by staying on designated trails and respecting wildlife signs. Who needs a tour guide when you can just follow the squawking and honking of Hawaii Island’s endemic birds?

Hawaii Island Endemic Birds

Hawaii Island boasts of unique species of birds that are endemic only to this region. These native birds have adapted to the island’s unique environment and have evolved differently over time.

A table displaying data on Hawaii Island’s endemic bird species can be found below:

Name Scientific Name Conservation Status
I’iwi Vestiaria coccinea Endangered
Hawaiian Crow Corvus hawaiiensis Critically Endangered
Puaiohi Myadestes palmeri Endangered
Omao Myadestes obscurus Vulnerable
Akiapolaau Hemignathus munroi Endangered

It is worth noting that the I’iwi bird, with its vibrant red feathers, plays a significant cultural role in Hawaii. In ancient Hawaiian folklore, the bird’s feathers were used to make royal capes and helmets, hence referred to as sacred for its association with royalty.

Another unique fact about Hawaii’s endemic birds is their dependence on forest conservation efforts because of habitat fragmentation caused by human encroachment.

According to BirdLife International’s Database, some of these unique and rare birds face extinction due to habitat loss and climate change impacts, making conservation efforts essential.

The migratory birds in Hawaii must think they hit the jackpot, getting to escape the cold while the rest of us are stuck shoveling snow.

Migratory Birds in Hawaii

Hawaii’s Avian Visitors: Discover Migratory Birds in the Islands

Hawaii is a breeding ground and habitat for both migratory and non-migratory birds. The state’s unique geography and tropical climate make it an ideal destination for birds that migrate from Asia, North America, and the South Pacific during different seasons of the year. Many bird species come to Hawaii to breed, feed, and rest before continuing their journey. Some of the most common migratory bird visitors include Pacific Golden-Plovers, Bristle-thighed Curlews, Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings, Wandering Tattlers, and Red Knots.

These birds are visible on all of Hawaii’s islands but mostly appear along the coasts and wetlands. To see them up close or learn about their behaviors, numerous wildlife sanctuaries provide guided tours throughout the year.

The Hawaiian government has taken measures to protect these vulnerable visitors as well as other native Hawaiian endangered species. By creating appropriate regulations that safeguard environment and ecosystems while promoting sustainability across tourism activities that could affect wildlife conservation efforts.

According to reports by Hawaii Natural Heritage Program (HNHP), around 90 percent of Hawaii’s forest birds are endangered or threatened – include many indirect threats such invasive species (Hawaiian blackbird), loss of habitat (such as grasslands), introduced diseases (avian pox) combined with extreme weather occurrences linked with climate change such as severe drought events that negatively impact not only Hawaiian forests but trees across North America.

It is worth noting that some migratory bird species which visit Hawaii represent significant financial benefit to local economies. For example, Shorebirds like Pacific golden-plover attract thousands of enthusiasts annually generating millions in revenue for local communities.

Too bad these birds couldn’t fly their way out of extinction.

Extinct Birds of Hawaii

The avian populations of Hawaii have experienced a drastic decline, leaving several species extinct. The loss of these birds has impacted the Hawaiian ecosystem and culture.

  • Akialoa – This unique bird had a curved bill and was endemic to Hawaii. It went extinct in the early 20th century due to habitat loss.
  • O’u – A forest bird with bright plumes, this species went extinct in the late 19th century due to avian disease.
  • Poo-uli – A songbird with distinct stripes on its head, body and wings, which is believed to have gone extinct in 2004 due to mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Laysan Rail – Discovered by ornithologist Walter Rothschild in 1893, this flightless bird became extinct in the mid-20th century due to habitat destruction and predation by non-native species.
  • Kioea – Known for its tawny feathers and sweet song, this bird disappeared from Hawaii around 1859 because of habitat loss and hunting.

The extinction of these colorful birds highlights the need for conservation efforts in Hawaii’s unique ecosystem. The impact extends beyond an ecological level as they represent a critical piece of cultural heritage that connects Hawaiians to their ancestors.

Legend has it that Hawaiian mythology includes supernatural beings appearing as birds; they once roamed free throughout the islands. In particular, Po’ouli’s extinction represents spiritual significance among Native Hawaiians.

Losing these native birds serves as a cautionary tale against neglecting care for our environment as we continue living within it. Protecting Hawaii’s birds is important, unless you enjoy hiking in silence and staring at empty trees.

Conservation Efforts to Protect Hawaii’s Birds

Hawaii’s bird species have faced extinction threats from climate change, habitat loss and the introduction of invasive predators for years. To combat these issues, a range of preservation initiatives have been put in place. These endeavors primarily involve the maintenance of healthy ecological reserves and habitats that support threatened bird populations. Specific efforts include fencing off nesting areas, managing non-native plant species and developing predator eradication programs.

Additionally, educating the public about Hawaii’s unique avian species has been an essential part of conservation programs. This outreach serves to raise awareness within communities regarding the potential harm humans can cause to bird habitats through activities such as clearing land or releasing unwanted pets into the wild.

Despite significant headway made in recent years, preservationists are aware there is much work still to be done to protect Hawaii’s birds. One such challenge is funding resources required for long-term habitat management projects. Providing sustainable financial investment to support ongoing bird conservation efforts will undoubtedly improve their effectiveness.

Missing out on taking concrete steps toward conserving Hawaii’s native avian wildlife risks losing forever precious endemic species like the Hawaiian Goose (Nene), which was once critically endangered but now has a stable population thanks to sustained protection measures. It is more important than ever before to support these admirable efforts aimed at preserving some of nature’s most beautiful creatures for future generations.

Saving Hawaii’s birds is crucial, otherwise the only tweeting we’ll hear will be from our phones.

Conclusion: Importance of Protecting Hawaii’s Birdlife

Hawaii’s birdlife plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of the region. Protecting this diverse avian population is necessary to sustain the ecosystem and preserve the cultural significance attached to these species. Hawaii could lose several unique bird species, including honeycreepers, if conservation efforts are not enforced. The decline of these birds would result in severe ecological consequences due to their role in pollination, pest control, seed dispersal and nutrient cycling.

The Hawaiian government has taken legislative measures to protect these valuable native species. Preservation of their habitat and controlling the introduction of invasive species are some of the critical steps being taken by conservationists to ensure that the delicate balance between nature and human existence is maintained.

It is essential to note that Hawaii’s birdlife has tremendous cultural significance as well as ecological significance. A connection exists between local communities and birds like ‘I’iwi’, which are used for making feather capes or ‘ahu’ula.’ The extinction of such species will mean losing an integral part of Hawaiian culture.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, Hawaii’s flightless Kaua’i rail was so inexperienced with threats and predators before human presence that they would sit motionless at night as they were picked up by hand for easy capture.

Overall, it is imperative to appreciate and protect Hawaii’s birdlife because their existence impacts more than just one aspect of Hawaiians’ lives – from ecology to culture – everything intersects with avifauna in Hawaii making it important for everyone in love with nature or native traditions alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What types of birds can be found in Hawaii?

There are over 100 species of birds that can be found in Hawaii, including the Hawaiian honeycreeper, nene (Hawaiian goose), and wekiu bugcatcher.

2. Are there any rare or endangered birds in Hawaii?

Yes, unfortunately, many species of birds in Hawaii are endangered, including the endemic Hawaiian crow and Hawaiian duck.

3. Are there any migratory birds that visit Hawaii?

Yes, Hawaii is a popular stopover for many migratory birds, including the Laysan albatross and Pacific golden plover.

4. Can you see birds while hiking in Hawaii?

Absolutely! Hiking in Hawaii offers a great opportunity to spot many different species of birds, such as the ‘I‘iwi, ‘Apapane, and ‘Amakihi.

5. Where is the best place to bird watch in Hawaii?

Hawaii offers many great locations for bird watching, but some of the best spots include Kauai’s Waimea Canyon, Maui’s Haleakalā National Park, and the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the Big Island.

6. Is there a bird endemic to Hawaii?

Yes, the Hawaiian honeycreeper is an endemic bird to Hawaii and can be seen on all of the major islands.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.