30 MOST Common Birds Found in Hawaii! (2024)

Do you want to learn about the birds in Hawaii?

This can be an immense challenge because of the sheer number of species. Did you know over 200 species have been recorded here?

As you can imagine, there was no way to include this many birds in the article below. Instead, I focused on the birds most regularly seen and observed on the islands.

COMMON types of birds in Hawaii!

Unfortunately, many of the most numerous birds in Hawaii are not native. I’ve marked each species, whether it’s invasive or native.


#1. Red-crested Cardinal

  • Paroaria coronata
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

  • Red head, crest feathers, and throats.
  • White necks and bellies.
  • They have dark gray wings and tails. 

Red-crested Cardinals are one of the most common birds in Hawaii.

Despite the name and similar appearance, they are not closely related to the cardinal family! They are from the tanager family, which includes several species that are referred to as cardinals. 

These striking birds are native to Central and Eastern South America.

Red-crested Cardinals were introduced intentionally to Oahu and Kauai between 1928 and 1931 by the Hui Manu Society. Following the extirpation of many native birds from lowland areas due to development, the society introduced various non-native birds. The intention was to populate gardens and developed areas with colorful and attractive songbirds again. 

Nowadays, Red-crested Cardinals have spread and can be commonly seen on many Hawaiian Islands, including Lanai, Molokai, Maui, and the Big Island. They are comfortable around humans and abundant in parks and gardens. Thankfully, they have not expanded strongly into native forest habitats. 


#2. Zebra Dove

  • Geopelia striata
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

  • Pale gray-brown coloration with delicate barring.
  • When viewed closer, their peach chests and blue faces are apparent. 
  • They have a slender and delicate shape. 

Zebra Doves are attractive birds from the dove family and are often seen on the ground. They are confident near humans and are common in parks and around restaurants.

Zebra Doves are native to Southern Asia. They are popular as game birds and pets, thanks to their delicate appearance and soft calls. As a result, they have been introduced to other ranges through escapes and releases. 

Zebra Doves were introduced intentionally to Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, and Maui in 1922. They were used as game birds and actively hunted for sport until around 1980. Now, these birds are common throughout many of the Hawaiian islands


#3. Common Myna

  • Acridotheres tristis
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

  • Black heads with contrasting yellow beaks and eye patches. 
  • Bodies are mostly reddish-brown. 
  • Their wings are darker with white patches. 

Common Mynas are small birds native to Asia. They are extremely adaptable and tenacious, and their population is increasing rapidly. As a result, they have become a significant invasive species in many regions. 

These birds were introduced to the island of Oahu in 1865. It was hoped that they would help control an armyworm infestation that was destroying crops such as sugarcane. 

Now, Common Mynas are abundant throughout the Hawaiian islands. They are not popular with locals, as they have been nicknamed “noisy birds” and “trash-eating birds.” 

Common Mynas cause various issues in Hawaii, such as forming huge flocks that make significant noise. They also create a lot of fecal matter near these flocks, which is hazardous to health. 

Furthermore, they nest in any cavities they can find. This means they may take nesting cavities in trees away from native birds. They also damage gutters and vents by nesting in cavities found in buildings. 


#4. Pacific Golden Plover (Kolea)

  • Pluvialis fulva
  • Native to Hawaii.

  • Mottled brown, white, and gold heads and bodies. 
  • In winter, they have pale breasts.
  • In summer, they have dark breasts and faces. Males are darker than females. 

Pacific Golden Plovers spend their summer breeding in Alaska and Siberia. The breeding season is short, and the migration is very long! In August, they head south and disperse as far as Australasia.

These birds are commonly spotted in Hawaii during the winter months. During winter, they are pale and golden. As May approaches, they change their plumage to black on their chests and faces. After this, they fly back north to Alaska. 

Pacific Golden Plovers are common throughout the Hawaiian Islands. They are recognized as indigenous and are locally named Kolea. 


#5. Western Cattle Egret

  • Bubulcus ibis
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

Western cattle heron (Bubulcus ibis)

  • Tall, slender, white birds.
  • They have fairly long, pointed orange beaks.
  • During summer, they have long golden feathers on their heads, backs, and chests. 

Following rapid expansion over the last century, Western Cattle Egrets have a huge global range covering tropical and temperate zones on all continents except Antarctica. 

Western Cattle Egrets were intentionally introduced to Hawaii in the 1950s. The intention was to reduce the fly swarms that harassed cows on farms and ranches. 

Unfortunately, Western Cattle Egrets became a more significant issue than flies. They are opportunistic feeders and have adapted quickly to a new food source: the chicks of native birds. 

Now, these invasive birds can be found commonly throughout most of Hawaii. They have become a significant threat to the breeding success of the Hawaiian Duck, Hawaiian Gallinule, Hawaiian Coot, and Hawaiian Stilts 


#6. Red Junglefowl 

  • Gallus gallus
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

  • Males are brightly colored with showy plumage. 
  • Females are brown and mottled, giving good camouflage. 
  • Both have small, down-curved beaks and strong feet and legs. 

Red Junglefowl are the wild ancestors of domesticated chickens. They prefer to live at the edges of woodlands and thrive in disturbed habitats. They prefer regenerating forests, following fires or deforestation. 

The native range of Red Junglefowl is South Asia. The species was domesticated around 8,000 years ago, and humans took them along as they traveled to new regions. 

Polynesian settlers introduced Red Junglefowl to the Hawaiian Archipelago. They were valued as a food source and used their feathers to adorn ceremonial garments.

Nowadays, Red Junglefowl can be found living feral on almost all of the Hawaiian islands. They are abundant both in forests and in areas of human habitation. They can be a nuisance when foraging for food and crowing loudly in the early morning hours.  


#7. Hawaiian Goose (Nēnē)

  • Branta sandvicensis
  • Found on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.
  • Native and endemic to Hawaii.

Hawai'ian Goose

  • Hawaiian geese have black heads, gold cheeks, white necks, and brown bodies.
  • Their plumage has a distinct barred pattern over the wings and flanks.
  • Females look similar to males but are usually smaller. 

Hawaiian geese are large, beautiful birds that represent Hawaii as the official state bird. 

These endemic birds are grazers that feed on leaves, seeds, flowers, and fruits. They are very important to the ecosystem, as they disperse plant seeds in their feces. 

Hawaiian geese almost became extinct in the early 20th century. Since that time, numbers have begun to recover. The species is currently classified as “near threatened” on the IUCN RedList.

Today, Hawaiian geese can only be seen on Hawaii Island, Kauai, and Maui. 

Historically, hunting by humans was a major threat to Hawaiian geese. In modern times, hunting by invasive species is the greater issue. As ground-nesting birds, they are very vulnerable to invasive predators, including Barn owls, domestic cats, dogs, rats, and mongooses. 


#8. Black-crowned Night Heron (‘Auku’u)

  • Nycticorax nycticorax
  • Native.

Night Heron - a common water bird in Hawaii

  • Black tops on their heads and backs. 
  • Wings are pale gray, while their bodies are white.
  • They have long legs and straight, narrow black bills. 

Black-crowned Night Herons are wading birds. They usually forage in shallow water at night or dawn. Their normal habitat is fresh or saltwater wetlands. 

N.n.hoactli is a subspecies of Black-crowned Night Heron found across the American continent from southern Canada to northern Chile. It is also found in the Hawaiian archipelago, where it is considered indigenous by the state. Locally, N.n.hoactli are referred to as ‘Auku’u. 

‘Auku’u are different from other Black-crowned Night Herons because they are diurnal! They hunt in the daytime, which makes them easier to spot. ‘Auku’u can be seen on all major islands in the Hawaiian archipelago. 

The main threat to Black-crowned Night Herons in Hawaii is habitat degradation. Large areas of wetlands have been lost over the last century. Oil spills also contaminate the ecosystem, and invasive species alter the biome 


#9. Saffron Finch

  • Sicalis flaveola
  • Invasive to Hawaii. 

  • Males are bright golden yellow and have orange areas on their heads.
  • Females are duller in color than males.
  • Some gray-brown feathers in their wings. 

Saffron Finches are small, perching birds. They have been commonly kept as cage birds due to their pretty appearance and pleasant singing voices. 

YouTube video

The natural range of Saffron Finches is South America. Because of their popularity as captive birds, they have been imported and introduced to various other places. 

Saffron Finches were introduced to Hawaii in 1965. The first feral birds were likely escaped cage birds. 

Nowadays, Saffron Finches are common on the Big Island and  Oahu. They are easiest to find in dry lowland areas. Look for them in backyard gardens and any grassy areas near the coast.


#10. House Sparrow

  • Passer domesticus
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

  • Males have red-brown patches on their faces and black masks. 
  • Females are usually smaller and duller in color than males. 
  • They are small birds with strong, short beaks. 

House Sparrows are very common birds with a huge range. Their incredible success is linked to their relationship with humans.

House Sparrows are originally from the Middle East region. Over time, they dispersed in connection with the expansion of agriculture across Eurasia and North Africa.

They were introduced to New Zealand in 1859 and spread to many Pacific Islands. Then, in the 1870s, they were brought to Hawaii from New Zealand.

House Sparrows are often viewed as pests in Hawaii. They drive native birds out of their nests to steal them. They may even kill native birds. 

Furthermore, House Sparrows cause challenges for property owners everywhere. Because they build nests in small cavities in buildings, they can harm infrastructure and cause fires by damaging electrical circuits.


#11. Spotted Dove

  • Spilopelia chinensis
  • Invasive to Hawaii. 

  • Pinkish chests and bellies. 
  • They have an eye-catching black patch on their necks with white spots. 
  • Their wings and tails are soft brown-gray, with further white spots. 

Spotted Doves are a type of small pigeon. Their coloration and patterning are quite eye-catching.  

Native to Southeast Asia, they were introduced to Hawaii before 1855, possibly by Chinese immigrants, to provide food.

Despite proliferating quickly, further introductions were made over the following century. Spotted Doves were valued as game birds for sport, especially on Hawaii Island (Big Island). 


#12. White-rumped Shama

  • Copsychus malabaricus
  • Invasive to Hawaii. 

  • Long tails with white feathers on the underside. 
  • Males have black plumage all over except for their orange breasts.
  • Females have soft brown plumage everywhere except their orange breasts. 

White-rumped Shamas are small perching birds found in Hawaii. They have beautiful, varied songs and can mimic other birds. Take a listen below:

YouTube video

White-rumped Shamas are native to Southern  Asia. However, due to their popularity as pets, they have been exported to many new places. 

White-rumped Shamas were first introduced to the island of Kauai in 1931. In 1938 and 1940, more releases occurred on Oahu. 

White-rumped Shamas were intentionally released by socialite garden clubs such as the Honolulu Mejiro Club and the Hui Manu Society. They intended to fill gardens with colorful songbirds again, following the extirpation of native songbirds from low-elevation habitats. 

These birds have spread and can be found on Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai. Until recently, only scattered sightings of them had occurred on Maui, but the species seems to be getting a foothold there. 

The expansion of White-rumped Shamas is concerning for the native fauna of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Invasive birds can outcompete native birds for resources, leading to further population decrease.


#13. Hawaiian Stilt (Ae’o)

  • Himantopus mexicanus
  • Native.

Hawi'ian Black-necked Stilt a common water bird in Hawaii

  • Long, thin, black bills.
  • Black wings, black caps, and black backs with white elsewhere. 
  • They have very long, thin, pink legs. 

Hawaiian Stilts are a type of wading bird in Hawaii.

Black-necked Stilts are abundant birds with a huge range across the American continent and various islands. The Black-necked Stilts found in the Hawaiian Islands are a subspecies called Himantopus mexicanus knudseni. They are commonly known as the Hawaiian Stilt or the Ae’o. 

The subspecies is endemic, so it is not found anywhere else. Ae’o are recognized as indigenous to Hawaii.

Maui, Oahu, and Kauai have the largest populations, especially between March and August, as these islands have breeding colonies. Hawaiian Stilts are most likely found in shallow wetlands near the sea. 

Hawaiian Stilts face a host of threats. They are directly predated by invasive mammals, including cats and dogs. Their grazing and breeding habitats also face degradation from development, invasive plants, sea-level rise, and pollutants.   


#14. Java Sparrow

  • Padda oryzivora
  • Invasive to Hawaii. 

  • Large, red beaks compared to their head size. 
  • They have black heads with large white cheek patches. 
  • Their bodies are pale gray, with white underparts and black tails. 

Java Sparrows are small, striking, perching birds native to Indonesia. They have been popular pets since as early as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in China! Due to their popularity as a caged bird, they have been distributed and introduced to many new ranges worldwide. 

Java Sparrows were first identified on Oahu in 1964. Later, they were seen on Kauai, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii Island (Big Island) in the 1980s. 

Java Sparrows are an agricultural pest on Hawaii. They forage in huge flocks that can damage grain fields. They have also contributed to the spread of invasive plants in the native forest.

Thankfully, they prefer low-level habitats near built-up and cultivated areas in Hawaii, reducing their impact on native birds.


#15. Warbling White-Eye

  • Zosterops japonicus
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

  • Bright yellowy-green from head to tail.
  • They have small, pointed, black beaks and a ring of white around each black eye. 
  • Also called the Mejiro, Mountain White-eye, and Japanese White-eye.

Warbling White-eyes have a large native range that covers much of East  Asia. However, they have been intentionally dispersed to new ranges around the world via the pet trade, as well as for pest control. Warbling White-eyes have historically been popular cage birds thanks to their attractive appearance and singing voices.

YouTube video

These birds were first introduced to Hawaii in 1929. The introduction was intended to help control insects and did have some impact. 

Nowadays, Warbling White-eyes are one the most abundant birds in Hawaii. They have diversified into wet and dry forests in both cultivated and native areas, from sea level to 10,170 feet (3,100 m) elevation! 

Sadly, Warbling White-eyes have hurt native bird species. They spread avian parasites and disperse invasive plant seeds. They also compete with native birds for food resources.


#16. Yellow-billed Cardinal

  • Paroaria capitata
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

  • Red heads, white chests, and black wings and tails. 
  • Orange bills and legs. 
  • They have a black triangular patch below their chin.

Yellow-billed Cardinals are, in fact, not cardinals at all! They look similar, but they are actually from the Tanager family. Their natural range is in central South America. 

Yellow-billed Cardinals were introduced to the Hawaiian islands by 1972 when they were first identified on the Big Island. They are now abundant in short, grassy areas and shrubland. 

The exact time and purpose of their introduction is not clear. They may have been introduced as early as 1931 but were most likely introduced during the 1960s. 

Yellow-billed Cardinals are resistant to avian malaria and can live in low-elevation habitats, unlike most native perching birds. Sadly, where the these birds interact with native bird species at higher elevations, they can spread avian malaria.


#17. Rock Pigeon

  • Columba livia
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

purple bird in the united states

  • Gray all over with lighter wings.
  • Black stripes on their wings.
  • They have green and pink shine on their neck feathers. 

Rock Pigeons, also known as Rock Doves, are among the most recognizable birds in the world. They have proliferated in cities and towns across the globe.

Rock Pigeons were introduced to the Hawaiian Archipelago in  1788. The first pairs were brought on a ship from China. In 1796, more were brought to Oahu from Europe. Birds from these domestic imports quickly became feral. 

Nowadays, Rock Pigeons are very common in urban areas and rocky cliffs across the southeastern Hawaiian Islands. A small population also reached the northwestern Hawaiian Islands but seems to have been successfully controlled.


#18. Northern Cardinal

  • Cardinalis cardinalis
  • Invasive to Hawaii. 

  • Males are bright red, with matching red beaks and striking black masks on their faces. 
  • Females are beige, with red wings, tails, beaks, and reddish plumes on their heads.  

Northern Cardinals are true cardinals from the genus Cardinalis. They are very distinctive-looking birds with strong dimorphism between the sexes. Their native range is the mid-eastern American continent.

Northern Cardinals were introduced to Hawaii in 1929 in Honolulu. One cage bird escaped, and later, the breeding partner was released. 

Around the same time, between 1929 and 1931, the Hui Manu Society and other groups released 300+ birds imported from the USA to Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii.

Nowadays, Northern Cardinals are common throughout the southeastern Hawaiian Islands. They have also been identified on Ni’ihau and Nihoa in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands.


#19. Red-vented Bulbul

  • Pycnonotus cafer
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

  • Black heads, eyes, and beaks.
  • Their bodies are brown to white, with a scaling pattern on the breast feathers.
  • Under their tails, they have an area of scarlet feathers. 

The native range of Red-vented Bulbuls is south and southeast Asia. They were first introduced to Oahu in the 1950s as an illegal release of exotic pet birds. 

Red-vented Bulbuls are now well established on  Oahu. They can be found in parks, gardens, and other areas near humans, as well as scrubland.

These birds have had quite an impact in Hawaii. They eat the bulbs of orchids, which are cultivated on the islands. They cause over $300,000 in damage to the orchid industry on Oahu every year.

Interestingly, Red-vented Bulbuls have altered the morphology of butterflies in Hawaii. As Red-vented Bulbuls prefer to hunt orange butterflies, the orange morphs have been decreasing and white morphs have been increasing.


#20. Common Waxbill

  • Estrilda astrild
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

  • Bright red beaks and red masks over their eyes.
  • Pale gray-to-brown bodies with delicate barred patterns all over. 
  • They have red patches on their bellies. 

Common Waxbills are medium-sized perching birds and a type of finch. Their native range covers much of the Southern African continent. However, due to their popularity as pets, they have been transported to other areas. 

These birds were introduced to Hawaii before 1979 when they were first observed in Oahu. Nowadays, they have become established throughout most of the southeastern Hawaiian Islands. They are most likely to be spotted in grassy, lowland habitats. 

Common Waxbills create incredible nests. They are ball-shaped, with the entrance downward-pointing. Sometimes, an extra section will be built above, where the male sleeps. The nests are positioned inside cavities, usually in low-lying, dense vegetation.


#21. Hawaiian Coot

  • Fulica alai
  • Found on Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, and the Big Island.
  • Native.

The hawaiian coot an endemic bird in Hawaii

  • Hawaiian coots have shiny black plumage all over.
  • They have bright white bills with tall frontal shields that are white or brown. 
  • They have small, rounded bodies with small heads.

These birds are endemic to Hawaii!

They usually live in shallow, saline water, such as brackish lagoons and estuaries along the coastline. But they can also be found in freshwater ponds, lakes, and wetlands. 

Maui, Oahu, or Kauai are the best places to see Hawaiian Coots.

However, small populations can be seen on almost all Hawaiian islands. 

Hawaiian Coots are considered “near threatened” by the IUCN RedList in 2023. This is an improvement on their “vulnerable” status in the early 21st century. However, Hawaiian coots still face many threats.

Habitat loss is the primary threat to Hawaiian Coots. Coastal plains and wetlands, which make the best breeding sites, have been rapidly lost over the last century.


#22. Grey Francolin

  • Ortygornis pondicerianus
  • Invasive to Hawaii.
Attribution: Hari K Patibanda, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Light brown with barred patterning all over.
  • Their chests are paler than their backs, and their faces are tawny-gold.
  • Males and females look similar, but males are larger and have spurs on their legs. 

Grey Francolins are medium-sized, ground-dwelling birds that resemble partridges. They are often referred to colloquially as “gray partridges.” 

Grey Francolins are sometimes referred to as “teeters”! They earned this nickname from their unique calls. Listen below!

YouTube video

They are native to India, Iran, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. They have historically been trapped for food, as well as domesticated for use in bird fighting and sport hunting. As a result, humans have exported and introduced them to new ranges around the globe. 

Between 1958 and 1962, Grey Francolins were intentionally introduced to the Hawaiian Islands as game birds. Initially, hundreds were released on Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii Island. 

Later, perhaps not until the 1980s, Grey Francolins were also released on Oahu. Nowadays, these birds are well established in the dry lowland habitats of these six Hawaiian Islands.


#23. Chestnut Munia

  • Lonchura atricapilla
  • Invasive to Hawaii.
Attribution: Tareq’s Photography, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Wide-based, triangular, gray beaks.
  • Black heads from the shoulder upwards, as well as black lower bellies. 
  • The rest of their plumage is a rich mahogany color.

Chestnut Munias naturally inhabit a very large range throughout Southeastern  Asia. They have historically been popular cage birds thanks to their striking appearance. As a result, they have been introduced to many new ranges by humans. 

In Hawaii, these birds were first introduced to Oahu around 1959. Later, they were observed on Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and Hawaii Islands. They likely dispersed both naturally and through accidental or intentional releases of pet birds.


#24. Chukar

  • Alectoris chukar
  • Invasive to Hawaii.

  • White faces are bordered with black that extends down to their chests. 
  • Their wings have a distinctive black-and-white barred pattern. 
  • Females and males look similar, but males are larger and have spurs on their legs. 

Chukars are fairly small members of the pheasant family. They inhabit a huge native range in Asia and Southern Europe. Historically, they have been popular as game birds for hunting and food. Consequently, they have been introduced to other ranges around the world. 

Between 1930 and 1941, Chukars were imported and bred on a game farm in Oahu. In 1941, during the Second World War, the army requisitioned these Chukars for food. Chukars were introduced throughout the inhabited southeastern Hawaiian Islands in the following years. 

Today, they are found on Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii Islands. Their populations vary significantly between the islands. But game hunting of Chukars is still legal and continues today.


#25. Laysan Albatross (Moli)

  • Phoebastria immutabilis
  • Species is native to Hawaii.

Laysan Albatross - a common water bird in Hawaii

  • Huge white seabirds with wingspans of approximately 78 inches (2m).
  • Dark patches in front of each eye. 
  • They have dark wings and dark tips to their large bills. 

Laysan Albatrosses, or “Moli,” are beautiful birds that range widely across the North Pacific Ocean. Interestingly, more than 90% of the world’s population of Laysan Albatrosses are found in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. They are deemed indigenous by the state of Hawaii. 

The IUCN RedList considers Laysan Albatrosses to be “Near Threatened.” In the early 20th century, humans hunted albatrosses to near extinction for feathers to make hats. Then, in the late 20th century, the driftnet method of commercial fishing caused another steep decline in the recovering population. 

The vast majority of breeding Laysan Albatrosses in Hawaii can be found on Midway Atoll, Laysan Island, and French Frigate shoals.

All these colonies are on very low-lying land masses with little human presence. Sadly, rising sea levels have led to tragic disasters from flooding of the breeding grounds.  


#26. ‘I’iwi

  • Drepanis coccinea
  • Found on Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, and the Big Island.
  • Native and endemic.

"The

  • ‘I’iwi are small birds with a bright scarlet body and black wings.
  • They have red, downward-curving beaks for feeding on nectar. 
  • Males and females look similar.

‘I’iwi are beautiful endemic birds in Hawaii that are easily spotted against the green forest.

They feed on flower nectar and hunt insects in the forest canopy. They primarily drink nectar from flowers of native Ohia and Mamane trees. However, they have also adapted well to feeding on invasive plant species. 

‘I’iwi Range Map 

Extant range (gr en). Extirpated (red). Michal Klajban, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

‘I’iwi face several major threats. Their population is decreasing, and the species is considered “Vulnerable” by the IUCN RedList

Lower-elevation forest habitats are warmer and more moist, creating a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes bite ‘them when they venture into these ecosystems in search of nectar. The mosquitoes transmit avian pox and avian malaria to the ‘I iwi. These diseases have a very high mortality rate. 

‘I’iwi have almost died out on islands with lower elevation habitats, namely Oahu and Molokai.

These endemic birds in Hawaii have beautiful singing voices. Listen below!

YouTube video

#27. Hawaiʻi ʻAmakihi

  • Chlorodrepanis virens
  • Found on the Big Island, Maui, and Molokai.
  • Native and endemic.

  • Males are small, bright yellow birds. Females are slightly drabber. 
  • Small, pointed, downward-curved beaks. 
  • They have black wing tips and tiny black masks from their eyes to beaks.  

Hawai’i ‘Amakihi are a species of honeycreeper from the Hawaiian archipelago. They are very adaptable birds and generalist feeders. This has been key to their success and survival.

Hawai’i ‘Amakihi Range Map 

Extant Range (Green). Extirpated Range (Black). Historynerd2, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

These endemic birds live on Hawaii Island (Big Island), Maui, and Molokai. Previously, they could also be spotted on Lanai, but the species is believed to be extirpated there. The IUCN RedList assesses this adaptable species as being of “Least Concern” and not in danger of extinction. 

Hawai’i ‘Amakihi are not very common below 1,640 feet (500 m). When mosquitoes enter low-elevation forests, they spread deadly avian malaria to them. However, they are developing a resistance to malaria and reclaiming the low-elevation forest habitat. 

Male Hawai’i ‘Amakihi have lovely singing voices for courting fem les. Check out their calls below:

YouTube video

#28. Rose-ringed Parakeet 

  • Psittacula krameri
  • Invasive to Hawaii.
  • Found on Oahu and Kauai.

A green Rose-ringed Parakeet, a type of parrot in Hawaii

  • Naturally vibrant green with orange beaks.
  • Males have strong red and black colored neck rings. 
  • Females and juveniles may have no neck rings or subtle gray neck rings. 

Rose-ringed parakeets are bright green, eye-catching birds found in Hawaii.

They are intelligent, social animals with loud voices! They have distinctive, carrying calls in the wild and can learn many words through mimicry when kept as pets. 

YouTube video

Rose-ringed parakeets are native to two distinct regions: Africa and Southeast Asia. However, due to the exotic pet trade, they have spread across the globe more successfully than any other parakeet. 

Rose-ringed Parakeets In Hawaii:

During the 1960s, Rose-ringed parakeets were imported as exotic pets to the Hawaiian archipelago. Unfortunately, a pair escaped on the island of Kauai in 1968 and began to breed. 

Following Hurricane Iwa in 1982, many more pet birds escaped, bolstering the growing feral population.

Rose-ringed parakeets are invasive and cause problems for the people and ecosystem of Hawaii. They are adaptable herbivores and feed on a wide range of fruits and grains. Large flocks of Rose-ringed parakeets heavily target crops, resulting in substantial losses to farmers.


#29. Hawaiian Hawk (‘Io)

  • Buteo solitarius
  • Native and Endemic to Hawaii.
  • Only found on the Big Island of Hawaii.
the hawaiian hawks is endemic to hawaii
Hawaiian  Hawk. (2023, October 14). In Wikipedia.
  • Hawaiian hawks are well camouflaged by bark-brown plumage.
  • Depending on the color phase, they may have brown or cream chests. 
  • They have long, gray, hooked beaks. 

These magnificent birds are ONLY found in Hawaii and only on Hawaii’s Big Island!

Hawaiian hawks are fairly large birds of prey, up to 18 in (45 cm) long. Their ability to soar higher than any other Hawaiian bird made them historically associated with royalty. They have a loud, screeching call that is said to sound similar to their Hawaiian name (‘Io).

YouTube video

Historically, Hawaiian Hawks could be seen on many islands in the Hawaiian archipelago. Nowadays, they only breed on the Big Island.

These birds of prey are primarily threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation in Hawaii. Trees are cut down to make timber or to clear space for agriculture or urban expansion. Invasive species, notably plants and deer, also cause severe damage to the forest habitat. 

Furthermore, Hawaiian Hawks strongly prefer nesting in the native Ohia tree. Sadly, a fungus (Ceratocystis fimbriate) is killing Ohia trees across the Island. This destruction directly affects habitat availability for the Hawaiian hawk.


#30. ‘Ōma‘o 

  • Myadestes obscurus
  • Only found on the Big Island.
  • Native and endemic to Hawaii.
The ʻOmaʻo an endemic bird in Hawaii
Attribution: Bettina Arrigoni, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Small birds with slender legs and small black beaks.
  • They have bark-brown heads and wings.
  • Their chests are dove-gray. 

‘Ōma‘o are a small species of thrush endemic to Hawaii Island (Big Island).

Historically, ‘Ōma‘o could be found across the Big Island’s forested areas. Nowadays, they are usually found in mesic and rainforests on the southern and eastern slopes. They are most common at high elevations above 3,281 feet (1,000 m).

‘‘Ōma‘o are at risk from avian malaria and avian pox. Mosquitoes spread these diseases to them when they forage at lower elevations. Positively, ‘Ōma‘o appear less likely to die from contracting avian malaria than other bird species. There is hope that they may be able to reclaim lowland habitats in the future. 

Invasive predators and livestock also threaten ‘Ōma‘o. Pigs, especially, compete with them for dietary fruits and berries. Rats predate their nests and have a strong negative impact on the population. 

‘Ōma‘o make various interesting sounds, including whistles, croaks, and tweets.

YouTube video

Do you want to learn about MORE birds in Hawaii?

Check out these ID Guides. Each one is specific to birds found here!


Which of these birds have you seen before in Hawaii?

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