Birds of Hawaii

14 Types of birds of Hawaii

Hawaii is home to a diverse array of birds, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. From the brightly colored Hawaiian Honeycreeper to the majestic Hawaiian Goose, these feathered friends are an integral part of the islands’ ecosystems and cultural heritage. With their stunning plumage and unique songs, the birds of Hawaii are sure to delight and inspire any nature lover.

Some of the most well-known native birds include the Hawaiian Honeycreeper, a small, brightly colored songbird found in a variety of habitats across the islands; the Nene, or Hawaiian Goose, the state bird of Hawaii which is adapted to living in the harsh volcanic landscapes of the islands; and the ‘I’iwi, a vibrant red and black honeycreeper with a distinctive curved bill.

What are the most common birds of Hawaii?

Birds of Hawaii

There are many common bird species that can be found in Hawaii, as the islands are home to a diverse array of bird life. Some of the most common birds in Hawaii include:

1. Nene (Branta sandvicensis)

Also known as the Hawaiian goose, the nene is the official state bird of Hawaii. It is a medium-sized goose with a brown body, black head, and white cheek patches.

Nene are found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, forests, and wetlands. They are endangered, with a population of around 2,500 individuals, and are found only in Hawaii.

2. Hawaiian Honeycreeper (Loxops spp.)

There are many different species of Hawaiian honeycreeper, all of which are native to the islands. These small, brightly colored birds are found in a variety of habitats, including forests, gardens, and parks. They are known for their varied diet, which includes insects, fruit, and nectar.

3. Hawaiian Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni)

The Hawaiian stilt is a subspecies of the black-necked stilt that is found only in Hawaii. It is a long-legged, black and white wading bird that can be found in shallow freshwater and coastal wetlands.

4. Hawaiian Coot (Fulica alai)

The Hawaiian coot is a medium-sized, black and white waterbird that is found in freshwater wetlands and coastal areas in Hawaii. It has a distinctive white bill and a red eye.

5. Hawaiian Duck (Anas wyvilliana)

Also known as the koloa, the Hawaiian duck is a medium-sized, brown, and white waterbird that is found in freshwater wetlands and coastal areas in Hawaii. It is closely related to the mallard and is the only duck species native to Hawaii.

6. Hawaiian Gallinule (Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis)

The Hawaiian gallinule is a subspecies of the common gallinule that is found only in Hawaii. It is a medium-sized brown and black waterbird with a distinctive red bill and yellow legs. It can be found in freshwater wetlands and coastal areas.

7. Hawaiian Mooring Dove (Zenaida Asiatica marginella)

The Hawaiian mooring dove is a subspecies of the mourning dove that is found only in Hawaii. It is a medium-sized gray and brown dove with a distinctive white ring around its neck. It is found in a variety of habitats, including forests, gardens, and parks.

8. Red-footed Booby (Sula sula)

The red-footed booby is a large seabird that is found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. In Hawaii, it can be found on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii. It has distinctive red feet and a long, pointed bill.

9. Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster)

The brown booby is a large, seabird that is found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. In Hawaii, it can be found on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii. It has a brown body and a long, pointed bill.

10. White Tern (Gygis alba)

The white tern is a small, white seabird that is found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. In Hawaii, it can be found on all of the main islands. It has a distinctive long, forked tail and is known for its graceful flight.

11. Red-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda)

The red-tailed tropicbird is a medium-sized, white seabird with a distinctive long, red tail. It is found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including Hawaii.

12. Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

The northern cardinal is a medium-sized, red and brown songbird that is found in the eastern United States and parts of Mexico. It has been introduced to Hawaii, where it can be found on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii.

13. Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)

The zebra dove is a small, brown, and white dove with distinctive black and white stripes on its neck and breast. It is native to Southeast Asia, but has been introduced to Hawaii, where it can be found on all of the main islands.

14. Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata)

The red-crested cardinal is a medium-sized, red and brown songbird that is native to South America. It has been introduced to Hawaii, where it can be found on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii.

What are some unique birds found only in Hawaii?

Hawaii is home to a number of unique bird species that are found nowhere else in the world. Some examples include:

Hawaiian Honeycreeper:

This group of small, brightly colored birds is found only in Hawaii. There are several different species of Hawaiian honeycreeper, including the I’iwi, Apapane, and Amakihi.

Nene (Hawaiian Goose):

The Nene is the state bird of Hawaii and is found only on the islands. It is a small, flightless goose that is endangered due to habitat loss and introduced predators.

Hawaiian Petrel:

This seabird is found only in Hawaii and is listed as endangered. It breeds in burrows on high-elevation plateaus on the islands and forages for food in the open ocean.

Hawaiian Crow (Alala):

This species of crow is found only in Hawaii and is listed as critically endangered. There are currently only a few hundred individuals remaining in the wild.

Hawaiian Hawk (Io):

This hawk is found only in Hawaii and is listed as endangered. It is a small, agile predator that feeds on a variety of prey, including rodents and insects.

These are just a few examples of the unique bird species found in Hawaii. There are many other fascinating and unusual birds that call the islands home, including a number of seabirds, waterfowl, and songbirds.

What are the best places to go birdwatching in Hawaii?

Birds of Hawaii

Hawaii is a great place for birdwatching, with a diverse array of species found on the islands. Some of the best places to go birdwatching in Hawaii include:

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is located on the Big Island and is home to several endangered bird species, including the Hawaiian Hawk, Hawaiian Petrel, and Hawaiian Honeycreeper.

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge: Located on Kauai, this refuge is a great place to spot seabirds, including the Laysan Albatross, Red-footed Booby, and Hawaiian Petrel.

Waikamoi Preserve: Located on Maui, this preserve is home to a number of rare and endangered bird species, including the Hawaiian Honeycreeper and Hawaiian Petrel.

James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge: Located on Oahu, this refuge is home to a number of waterfowl, including the Hawaiian Goose (Nene) and Hawaiian Stilt.

Koke’e State Park: Located on Kauai, this park is a great place to spot a variety of bird species, including the Hawaiian Honeycreeper and Hawaiian Petrel.

These are just a few examples of the many excellent birdwatching locations in Hawaii. Many of the state and national parks on the islands are also great places to spot a variety of bird species.

How can I identify different birds in Hawaii?

There are several ways you can identify different bird species in Hawaii:

Use a field guide: A field guide is a book that contains detailed descriptions and illustrations of different bird species. It can be a helpful resource for identifying birds in the field.

Look for distinctive physical characteristics: Different bird species have unique physical characteristics that can help you identify them. For example, the Hawaiian Honeycreeper is small and brightly colored, while the Hawaiian Goose (Nene) has a distinctive black head and neck.

Pay attention to habitat: Different bird species are found in different habitats. For example, the Hawaiian Petrel is a seabird that is found near the coast, while the Hawaiian Honeycreeper is found in forests.

Listen for unique calls or songs: Many bird species have distinctive calls or songs that can help you identify them. For example, the Hawaiian Crow (Alala) has a harsh, rasping call, while the Hawaiian Honeycreeper has a variety of melodic songs.

Use a birding app: There are several birding apps available that can help you identify different bird species based on their physical characteristics, habitat, and calls or songs. Some popular options include Merlin Bird ID and eBird.

By using these techniques, you should be able to identify many of the bird species found in Hawaii. Remember to always be respectful of the birds and their habitat when birdwatching.

Are there any endangered bird species in Hawaii?

Yes, there are several endangered bird species in Hawaii. These include the Hawaiian goose (Branta sandvicensis), also known as the nēnē, which is the state bird of Hawaii and is native to the islands.

The nēnē is listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, with an estimated population of fewer than 2,000 individuals.

Other endangered bird species in Hawaii include the Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), the Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai), the Hawaiian crow (Corvus hawaiiensis), the Hawaiian hawk (Buteo solitarius), and the Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis).

These species are threatened by habitat loss, predation by non-native animals, and other factors. Conservation efforts are underway to help protect and recover these and other endangered species in Hawaii.

Endemic birds of Hawaii

Hawaii is home to a number of unique and endemic bird species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Here is a list of some of the most well-known endemic bird species of Hawaii, along with some information about their diet, health, habitat, and lifestyle:

Hawaiian Honeycreeper (Drepanidinae):

These small, brightly colored birds are found throughout the Hawaiian Islands and are known for their wide range of vocalizations. They are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of seeds, fruits, and insects. They inhabit a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

Nene (Branta sandvicensis):

The nene is a species of goose that is native to Hawaii and is the state bird of Hawaii. It is a herbivorous bird, feeding on a variety of plants, including grasses, sedges, and seeds. The nene is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, wetlands, and forests.

‘I’iwi (Vestiaria coccinea):

The ‘i’iwi is a brightly colored, nectar-feeding bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on the nectar of a variety of native plants, including ohia and koa. The ‘i’iwi is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Apapane (Himatione sanguinea):

The ‘apapane is a small, nectar-feeding bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on the nectar of a variety of native plants, including ohia and hapu’u. The ‘apapane is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Alala (Corvus hawaiiensis):

The ‘alala, also known as the Hawaiian crow, is a critically endangered species of crow that is native to Hawaii. It is an omnivorous bird, feeding on a variety of fruits, insects, and small animals. The ‘alala is found in a variety of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Oma’o (Myadestes obscurus):

The ‘oma’o is a small, insect-eating bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. The ‘oma’o is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Akepa (Loxops coccineus):

The ‘akepa is a small, insect-eating bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. The ‘akepa is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Amakihi (Hemignathus virens):

The ‘amakihi is a small, insect-eating bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. The ‘amakihi is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Anianiau (Magumma parva):

The ‘anianiau is a small, insect-eating bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. The ‘anianiau is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

Migratory birds of Hawaii

Hawaii is a popular destination for a variety of migratory bird species, many of which travel long distances to reach the islands.

Here is a list of some common migratory bird species that can be found in Hawaii, along with some information about their diet, health, habitat, and lifestyle:

Red-footed Booby (Sula sula):

The red-footed booby is a seabird that is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It feeds on a variety of small fish and invertebrates, which it catches by diving into the water from the air. The red-footed booby nests on a variety of offshore islands and is known for its elaborate courtship displays.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor):

The great frigatebird is a seabird that is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It feeds on a variety of small fish and invertebrates, which it catches by chasing other birds and forcing them to regurgitate their prey. The great frigatebird nests on a variety of offshore islands and is known for its elaborate courtship displays.

Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans):

The wandering albatross is a large seabird that is found throughout the Southern Ocean. It feeds on a variety of small fish and invertebrates, which it catches by diving into the water from the air. The wandering albatross nests on a variety of offshore islands and is known for its elaborate courtship displays.

Black Noddy (Anous minutus):

The black noddy is a seabird that is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It feeds on a variety of small fish and invertebrates, which it catches by diving into the water from the air. The black noddy nests on a variety of offshore islands and is known for its elaborate courtship displays.

Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus):

The sooty tern is a seabird that is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It feeds on a variety of small fish and invertebrates, which it catches by diving into the water from the air. The sooty tern nests on a variety of offshore islands and is known for its elaborate courtship displays.

Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster):

The brown booby is a seabird that is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It feeds on a variety of small fish and invertebrates, which it catches by diving into the water from the air. The brown booby nests on a variety of offshore islands and is known for its elaborate courtship displays.

Red-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda):

The red-tailed tropicbird is a seabird that is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It feeds on a variety of small fish and invertebrates, which it catches by diving into the water from the air. The red-tailed tropicbird nests on a variety of offshore islands and is known for its elaborate courtship displays.

Hawaiian waterbirds

Hawaii is home to a number of waterbird species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Here is a list of some common waterbird species found in Hawaii, along with some information about their diet, health, habitat, and lifestyle:

Hawaiian Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni):

The Hawaiian stilt is a species of wading bird that is found in the wetlands and shallow waters of the Hawaiian Islands. It feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and crustaceans.

The Hawaiian stilt nests in wetlands and shallow water areas, and is known for its distinctive black-and-white plumage and long, thin legs.

Hawaiian Coot (Fulica alai):

The Hawaiian coot is a species of waterbird that is found in the wetlands and shallow waters of the Hawaiian Islands.

It feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and crustaceans. The Hawaiian coot nests in wetlands and shallow water areas, and is known for its distinctive black-and-white plumage and red eyes.

Hawaiian Duck (Anas wyvilliana):

The Hawaiian duck, also known as the koloa, is a species of duck that is found in the wetlands and shallow waters of the Hawaiian Islands. It feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and crustaceans.

The Hawaiian duck nests in wetlands and shallow water areas, and is known for its distinctive brown plumage and white ring around the eye.

Hawaiian Gallinule (Gallinula galeata sandvicensis):

The Hawaiian gallinule is a species of rail that is found in the wetlands and shallow waters of the Hawaiian Islands.

It feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and crustaceans. The Hawaiian gallinule nests in wetlands and shallow water areas, and is known for its distinctive blue-gray plumage and red frontal shield.

Hawaiian Moor Gull (Larus felicei):

The Hawaiian mew gull is a species of gull that is found in the coastal areas of the Hawaiian Islands. It feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and crustaceans. The Hawaiian mew gull nests in coastal areas and is known for its distinctive brown-and-white plumage and red bill.

Laysan Albatross (Diomedea immutabilis):

The Laysan albatross is a large seabird that is found in the North Pacific Ocean, including the waters around Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of small fish and invertebrates, which it catches by diving into the water from the air. The Laysan albatross nests on offshore islands and is known for its elaborate courtship displays.

Hawaiian forest birds

Hawaii is home to a number of forest bird species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Here is a list of some common forest bird species found in Hawaii, along with some information about their diet, health, habitat, and lifestyle:

Hawaiian Honeycreeper (Drepanidinae):

These small, brightly colored birds are found throughout the Hawaiian Islands and are known for their wide range of vocalizations. They are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of seeds, fruits, and insects. They inhabit a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘I’iwi (Vestiaria coccinea):

The ‘i’iwi is a brightly colored, nectar-feeding bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on the nectar of a variety of native plants, including ohia and koa. The ‘i’iwi is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Apapane (Himatione sanguinea):

The ‘apapane is a small, nectar-feeding bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on the nectar of a variety of native plants, including ohia and hapu’u. The ‘apapane is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Alala (Corvus hawaiiensis):

The ‘alala, also known as the Hawaiian crow, is a critically endangered species of crow that is native to Hawaii. It is an omnivorous bird, feeding on a variety of fruits, insects, and small animals. The ‘alala is found in a variety of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Oma’o (Myadestes obscurus):

The ‘oma’o is a small, insect-eating bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. The ‘oma’o is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Akepa (Loxops coccineus):

The ‘akepa is a small, insect-eating bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. The ‘akepa is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Amakihi (Hemignathus virens):

The ‘amakihi is a small, insect-eating bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. The ‘amakihi is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

‘Anianiau (Magumma parva):

The ‘anianiau is a small, insect-eating bird found in the native forests of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. The ‘anianiau is found in a range of forested habitats, including lowland and montane forests.

Hawaiian grassland birds

Hawaii is home to a number of grassland bird species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Here is a list of some common grassland bird species found in Hawaii, along with some information about their diet, health, habitat, and lifestyle:

Nene (Branta sandvicensis):

The nene is a species of goose that is native to Hawaii and is the state bird of Hawaii. It is a herbivorous bird, feeding on a variety of plants, including grasses, sedges, and seeds. The nene is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, wetlands, and forests.

Pueo (Asio flammeus):

The pueo is a species of owl that is native to Hawaii. It is an omnivorous bird, feeding on a variety of small mammals, birds, and insects. The pueo is found in a variety of grassland and open habitat types, including pastures and agricultural fields.

‘Akiapola’au (Hemignathus munroi):

The ‘akiapola’au is a small, insect-eating bird found in the native forests and grasslands of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates, using its unique, partially-adapted bill to extract insects from branches and bark. The ‘akiapola’au is found in a range of grassland and forested habitats, including lowland and montane areas.

Hawaiian Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus sandwicensis):

The Hawaiian short-eared owl is a species of owl that is native to Hawaii. It is an omnivorous bird, feeding on a variety of small mammals, birds, and insects. The Hawaiian short-eared owl is found in a variety of grassland and open habitat types, including pastures and agricultural fields.

Hawaiian Rail (Porzana sandwicensis):

The Hawaiian rail is a species of rail that is found in the wetlands and grasslands of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and crustaceans. The Hawaiian rail is found in a variety of wetland and grassland habitats, including marshes, swamps, and wet pastures.

Hawaiian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis):

The Hawaiian moorhen is a species of rail that is found in the wetlands and grasslands of Hawaii. It feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and crustaceans. The Hawaiian moorhen is found in a variety of wetland and grassland habitats, including marshes, swamps, and wet pastures.

Hawaiian Coot (Fulica alai):

The Hawaiian coot is a species of waterbird that is found in the wetlands and shallow waters of the Hawaiian Islands. It feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and crustaceans. The Hawaiian coot nests in wetlands and shallow water areas, and is known for its distinctive black-and-white plumage and red eyes.

Conclusion

The birds of Hawaii are a diverse and unique group of species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. These birds include a wide range of habitats, including forests, grasslands, wetlands, and offshore islands.

They also exhibit a wide range of behaviors and ecological roles, from nectar-feeding honeycreepers to insect-eating grassland birds to predatory seabirds. Overall, the birds of Hawaii are an important and fascinating part of the state’s natural heritage, and their conservation and protection is essential for the overall health and well-being of the islands’ ecosystems.

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