A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Hawaii II 2024

March 20-28, 2024 with Cory Gregory & Mandy Talpas guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
The endemic Hawaiian Goose, also known as Nene, showed very nicely for our group on this Hawaii tour. In fact, there were times when they were too close for photos! Photo by participant Paul Beerman.

The isolated nature of the Hawaiian Islands is conducive to forming endemic species and it was those that drew us to visit Hawaii and to enjoy some island birding. The scenery was great, the volcanoes were plentiful, the many habitats were intriguing, and the birding kept us busy on all three of the islands we visited. We really lucked out with the weather and in the end we came away with a very respectable list!

Our trip got under way on Oahu. In Honolulu, it didn't take long before we started to see many of the introduced species such as Red-crested Cardinal, Red-vented Bulbul, and the scores of Zebra Doves and Spotted Doves. Little Common Waxbills bumped around in the grass, Java Sparrows showed nicely in a nearby park, and Saffron Finches added a splash of color. The ghostly White Terns were fascinating to watch as they settled in and incubated their chicks. We tallied our first native passerine, the Oahu Amakihi, up along Manoa Cliffs Trail, and then we visited Paiko Lagoon where we saw some regional shorebirds like Black-necked Stilt and Wandering Tattler. Out at Lana'i Lookout, we had a breathtaking show from the local Red-tailed Tropicbirds that were displaying right overhead! Of course, things got really exciting when a Red-billed Tropicbird flew by too, they're not supposed to be anywhere near here. We also birded along Wiliwilinui Ridge where we added the introduced Red-billed Leiothrix, White-rumped Shama, and Warbling White-eye. The following day we returned to Wiliwilinui Ridge and finally had some success with the endangered Oahu Elepaio! Sometimes the bird just has to come to you. Our final day on Oahu we tracked down a wintering Bristle-thighed Curlew at a golf course, of all places, not to mention a flyover Great Frigatebird and our first Laysan Albatross.

Kauai was our next island and we went straight to the Princeville Makai Golf Course, where we had point-blank looks at Hawaiian Goose and Laysan Albatross (including a chick!). Nearby, the Hanalei NWR was hosting several species of waterbirds including the endemic Hawaiian Duck. We wrapped up the birding that afternoon with a visit to the Kīlauea Point NWR, where we watched as hundreds of seabirds swirled right in front of us; more than 100 Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, 300+ Red-footed Boobies, and even a bonus Brown Booby showed up. The next day we birded at the Waimea Athletic Fields before continuing up to the Kōkeʻe State Park. Kauai Elepaio finally performed for us and we also heard things like Japanese Bush Warbler and Chinese Hwamei, and we got to see the vividly red Apapane. Nearby, the Waimea Canyon Overlook provided a breathtaking view while hosting some very distant White-tailed Tropicbirds.

The final island in our birding trip was the one and only Hawaii, or Big Island. We first took our 4x4 vehicles up into the highlands where we explored around the Palila Discovery Trail. Although the one and only Palila was only a quick flyover, we were happy to have it. The Short-eared Owls provided great entertainment as they flew around in broad daylight, the Eurasian Skylarks sang from the wing, and more than a dozen Hawaii Amakihi kept things lively. Down near Waikaloa, we successfully tracked down Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse which is countable for our ABA lists. We also saw some Rosy-faced Lovebirds around, a flock of Java Sparrows, Saffron Finches, and the handsome Yellow-billed Cardinal. A nearby golf course provided our one and only Gray Francolin, and Kaloko Drive yielded some Red-masked Parakeets in the mist, and then finally, a pair of Hawaiian Hawks! But our finale came the last morning when we drove high into the highlands and birded at Hakalau Forest NWR. As we walked down the Pua Akala Tract, almost everything we saw was native! The Hawaii Elepaios were numerous, we scored a couple of the Omao, the red Apapane were present, and of course the vibrant and distinctive Iiwi! The Hawaii Amakihis were common, a couple of the endangered Hawaii Creepers performed well, a trio of Hawaii Akepa lit up the view with their bright orange coloration, and finally a couple of Akiapolaau with their crazy bills! But before we knew it, it was time for goodbyes and some departed for home while others stayed for a pelagic with Mandy.

On behalf of Field Guides, I want to thank all of you for joining Mandy and me on this birding adventure. We hope you made lasting memories and enjoyed getting to see some parts of this remote island chain. Until we meet again on another Field Guides adventure, be well, and good birding!

—Cory (Curlew)

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

HAWAIIAN GOOSE (Branta sandvicensis) [E]

The only remaining native goose found in Hawaii, the Nēnē was once exceedingly rare; in 1950 only 30 remained in the wild. But thanks to captive-breeding programs, the population has bounced back and currently sits at about 3800. We had fantastic views at the golf course in Princeville on Kauai.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)

This familiar dabbler was seen just once and that was at the Ka'elepulu Wetland we visited on Oahu.

HAWAIIAN DUCK (Anas wyvilliana) [E]

On Kauai, we visited the Hanalei NWR to take a look at waterfowl and ended up finding many of these endemics along 'Ohiki Rd. There are only about 2000 of these left in the wild and almost all of them are on Kauai.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

CALIFORNIA QUAIL (Callipepla californica) [I]

This introduced quail is found almost exclusively on the Big Island of Hawaii. For us, we scoped one at the Gilbert Kahele Recreation Area during a break one day.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) [I]

We were driving along Rt 200 on the Big Island when we spotted a couple of these introduced birds alongside some Chukar. These are only found on the island of Hawaii.

RING-NECKED PHEASANT (Phasianus colchicus) [I]

This is another large, introduced gamebird. For us, it was seen only once or twice on Hawaii.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This young Laysan Albatross sure seemed to like the attention! This was a great tour for enjoying Laysan Albatrosses. We saw many and in all different states of activity; loafing together on land under a tree, or soaring effortlessly out over the water. Photo by participant Paul Beerman.

KALIJ PHEASANT (Lophura leucomelanos) [I]

This is another introduced pheasant that we encountered. These are found only on the Big Island which is where we encountered a couple in the Hakalau Forest NWR.

GRAY FRANCOLIN (Ortygornis pondicerianus) [I]

We finally found one on a lawn near the Waikoloa Village Golf Club on the Big Island. These introduced exotics are originally from India but within Hawaii, they're found only on Hawaii, Maui, and Oahu.

BLACK FRANCOLIN (Francolinus francolinus) [I]

These can be rather sneaky but we managed to spot at least one female. These are native to India, Turkey, Iran, etc.

CHUKAR (Alectoris chukar) [I]

This is another popular exotic that has been introduced to many parts of the world. In Hawaii, they're found only on Hawaii and Maui. We saw some along Rt 200.

ERCKEL'S SPURFOWL (Pternistis erckelii) [I]

Native to Eritrea and Ethiopia, this introduced species is a long ways from home. They were brought into Hawaii in 1957 and now can be found on Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii. We ended up finding quite a few along random roadsides.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We enjoyed watching a variety of seabirds on this trip (from land, too) including terns, albatrosses, and multiple species of boobies. Here is a Red-footed Booby coming in for landing with nesting material. Photo by participant Paul Beerman.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Seen in a couple of the city parks.

SPOTTED DOVE (Spilopelia chinensis) [I]

This was a common species for us. These have been in Hawaii since the mid-1800s and now are found on all the major islands.

ZEBRA DOVE (Geopelia striata) [I]

This abundant dove was introduced to Hawaii in 1922. Over the last 100 years, they've done very well and were underfoot for us nearly the whole trip.

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura) [I]

This introduced species is a familiar one to us from the US and Canada. We encountered just one or two of these late in the trip on the Big Island.

Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)


This is another introduced species that we encountered in the Waikoloa area. What's interesting was that it was introduced by the Nevada state game department as a trial run to see if it was a viable introduction species for hunting. Turns out, they took hold in Hawaii but failed in Nevada.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the perks of this trip was seeing some of the oddballs that have been introduced to Hawaii. Things like this Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse are indeed countable for your ABA list now. Photo by participant Paul Beerman.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

COMMON GALLINULE (HAWAIIAN) (Gallinula galeata sandvicensis) [E]

This endemic subspecies was seen well a couple of times like at the Ka'elepulu Wetland and Hanalei NWR--'Ohiki Rd.

HAWAIIAN COOT (Fulica alai) [E]

Elevated to species level in 1993. Like the previous species, this now-endemic was seen a couple of times in various wetlands and ponds; first at Ka'elepulu Wetland and then the following day at Princeville Makai Golf Course and Hanalei NWR--'Ohiki Rd. It's estimated that there are only about 2000 of these left.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (HAWAIIAN) (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni) [E]

There are fewer than 2000 of these left in the wild. This is treated as a subspecies for now but it's possible it could get split into its own endemic species.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)


This shorebird species, which breeds in Alaska and Siberia, was an abundant wintering species for us and we saw them almost everywhere! Front lawns, city parks, you name it.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW (Numenius tahitiensis)

Fewer than 3000 pairs of this rare shorebird remain but we were lucky and witnessed one (at a golf course, no less). These breed in Alaska but that wasn't known until 1948! The genus Numenius translates to "new moon", a reference of the curved/sickle shape of the bill.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the most popular birds on this trip were the pure white White Terns that nest on Oahu. It's interesting that this is the only main island that they use and that they use the busiest part of it, downtown Honolulu! Participant Larry Taylor got this awesome shot of a young tern and a protective parent.


We spotted a couple of these gray, wintering shorebirds at Paiko Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

This familiar species was spotted once or twice in coastal habitat.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

This is a highly migratory and fairly widespread species around the world. Our only encounter with this pale shorebird was a quick drive-by on our second day.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

WHITE TERN (Gygis alba)

This all-white tern, and I mean all white, is a fascinating tropical species that is known for laying its egg on bare branches. Interestingly, newly hatched chicks have well-developed feet so that they can hang on to the branch well. In Hawaii, it's interesting that the only main island they nest on is Oahu and that they prefer the downtown portion of Honolulu!

Field Guides Birding Tours
Some of the introduced exotics were pretty spiffy looking too! Here is a Red-crested Cardinal, an abundant species for us. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

SOOTY TERN (Onychoprion fuscatus)

This is another tropical tern we encountered. At times, like at the Lana'i Lookout, we saw more than 100 of these handsome seabirds streaming by.

Phaethontidae (Tropicbirds)


This particular trip was phenomenal in that we saw all three of the world's tropicbirds! This one was one of the two expected species. We saw these a couple of times including many way below us in Waimea Canyon. We later saw some flying over the road in various places as well. Besides having a white tail, these have a loose black M pattern on the uppersides.

RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon aethereus)

Of all the species we encountered on our trip, this one was probably the least expected! A true vagrant to anywhere in Hawaii, this unexpected visitor briefly passed by Lana'i Lookout where it had been seen a few times by other birders. Like the previous species, this tropicbird has a white tail. However, the patterning on the wings is different; instead of the M pattern, it has fine barring on the back.

RED-TAILED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon rubricauda)

Of the three tropicbirds, this species was the most common and expected. We witnessed an amazing show at a breeding colony at Lana'i Lookout where they hovered overhead, flew by at eye level, etc. This is the only tropicbird with a red tail.

Field Guides Birding Tours
I'm not sure the last time we've ever tallied all three of the tropicbirds but we did just that on this trip! This bird flying away is a Red-billed Tropicbird which isn't supposed to be anywhere near Hawaii! Add to that the dozens of Red-tailed Tropicbirds and the occasional White-tailed Tropicbird. Photo by participant Paul Beerman.
Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)

LAYSAN ALBATROSS (Phoebastria immutabilis)

Before we ever saw an adult, we saw the goofy youngster in a random yard in a neighborhood! We later saw some adults nearby that were chilling together under a tree. Later in the tour, at the Kīlauea Point NWR overlook, we saw several more in flight.

Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)


We had an excellent show at the Kīlauea Point NWR overlook where we saw more than 100 of these coming and going from their presumed nesting areas. Getting to see them wheeling around and banking at such close distances was really cool. These are found throughout the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)


This distinctive seabird was first seen gliding over the Kahuku Golf Course. Later on, we saw more soaring effortlessly on the winds at Kīlauea Point NWR overlook.

Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)


Although we tallied these tropical seabirds daily for the first several days of the trip, it wasn't until the Kīlauea Point NWR overlook that we saw hundreds!

Field Guides Birding Tours
Hawaii is the winter home for a variety of shorebird species. The one that we saw the most was the Pacific Golden-Plover; they'd be on random lawns and sidewalks downtown even! Participant Larry Taylor got this awesome shot of one standing still.

BROWN BOOBY (Sula leucogaster)

The brown head and neck contrast very sharply with the bright white belly and underside. We saw these tropical seabirds a couple of times including at Kīlauea Point and Poʻipū Beach Park.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Found naturally on all of the main islands, this wide-ranging heron was tallied several times at spots like the Ka'elepulu Wetland, Princeville Makai Golf Course, and Hanalei NWR.

WESTERN CATTLE EGRET (Bulbulcus ibis) [I]

Interestingly, this species was introduced to Hawaii deliberately. Studies had shown that they really do reduce the number of flies bothering livestock and so in 1959, they were released. Of course, we've since learned that they're harmful to other wildlife and now they're considered invasive.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

HAWAIIAN HAWK (Buteo solitarius) [E]

It took some effort but we were eventually rewarded with finding two of these endemic raptors along Kaloko Drive on Hawaii. In fact, this species is only found on The Big Island. They were considered endangered up until 2020 when they were delisted but still they remain Near Threatened with a population of about 2000 remaining.

Strigidae (Owls)

SHORT-EARED OWL (HAWAIIAN) (Asio flammeus sandwichensis) [E]

Known locally as the Pueo. This native species has been present in Hawaii for long enough that it now warrants its own endemic subspecies. Perhaps one day they'll be split into their own species? For us, we saw a number of these up and around the Pu'u La'au, Palila Discovery Trail.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri) [I]

This long-tailed parakeet, which is native to India and parts of Africa, has been introduced to many places around the world. Hawaii is no exception and now they're found mostly on Oahu and Kauai.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We saw a good number of the Hawaiian endemics which included this species, the Hawaiian Hawk, which can be found only on the Big Island. Photo by participant Larry Taylor.

ROSY-FACED LOVEBIRD (Agapornis roseicollis) [I]

Found mostly in Namibia in southern Africa, this is another species that has been introduced many places worldwide. We encountered ours on the Big Island near the sandgrouse spot.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

RED-MASKED PARAKEET (Psittacara erythrogenys) [I]

Within Hawaii, this introduced parakeet is found mostly around Honolulu and along the west coast of Hawaii. They're far from home though, they're native to the coastal regions of Ecuador and northern Peru.

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)

HAWAII ELEPAIO (Chasiempis sandwichensis) [E]

These adorable endemics are found only on the Big Island, as the name suggests. There are about 140,000 of these left but the trend has been downward. We enjoyed their antics at places like Hakalau Forest NWR and Pu'u La'au, Palila Discovery Trail.

KAUAI ELEPAIO (Chasiempis sclateri) [E]

This is another endemic elepaio but this one is only on Kauai. We had these friendly cuties multiple times along the Kaluapuhi Trail in Kōkeʻe State Park. These are also in decline with about 20-50,000 left.

OAHU ELEPAIO (Chasiempis ibidis) [E]

Of all the endemic elepaios, this one is at greatest risk. With a population of 1200 and falling, it's no wonder it took us multiple tries to get solid looks. Still, in the end, one of these came overhead and found us!

Alaudidae (Larks)

EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis) [I]

Native across much of Eurasia, this gifted songster is a popular introduced bird and they can be found many places including a couple spots in Canada as well as Australia and New Zealand. We encountered them on the Big Island towards the end of the trip.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Having open-air dinners in restaurants overlooking the sunsets was never a hardship! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)

RED-WHISKERED BULBUL (Pycnonotus jocosus) [I]

Native to India and parts of Asia, this is a popular cage bird that has been released and become established in far-flung areas around the globe. In Hawaii, it's interestingly found only on Oahu which is where we had a couple of brief encounters.

RED-VENTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus cafer) [I]

This introduced bulbul is also found mostly on Oahu but unlike the previous species, this one was ubiquitous and hard to miss. From our hotel patios, to dining areas, you name it, they were there!

Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)

JAPANESE BUSH WARBLER (Horornis diphone) [I]

This loud but skulking species was first introduced to Oahu between 1929 and 1941. Since then, it has spread to all the main islands where its loud song is easily heard. For our trip, we encountered a couple at Kōkeʻe State Park on Kauai and also on the Big Island. Seeing them remained a challenge though.

Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)

WARBLING WHITE-EYE (Zosterops japonicus) [I]

Native to Japan, Korea, and islands to the south, this introduced species was brought to Oahu in 1929. Since then, however, it rapidly expanded and is now found on all the major islands. Unfortunately, this particular species has been especially detrimental to native species because it has become a vector for avian parasites that are affecting the endemics like the honeycreepers.

Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)

RED-BILLED LEIOTHRIX (Leiothrix lutea) [I]

Although these colorful songsters are native to southern China, they're popular cage birds and have been introduced to a number of places around the world. They were first brought to Hawaii in 1918 and have since spread to all the main islands. For us, we enjoyed hearing and seeing these along the Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail at the start of the tour, the Pu'u La'au, Palila Discovery Trail, and Hakalau Forest NWR.

CHINESE HWAMEI (Garrulax canorus) [I*]

Native to China but introduced to Japan and Hawaii where they're now found on all the major islands. This species was heard-only for us along the Kaluapuhi Trail in Kōkeʻe State Park.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the more colorful introduced species is the Red-billed Leiothrix. Although we got to hear them often, it was harder to get good views. Guide Cory Gregory was lucky when this one popped up right in front!
Sturnidae (Starlings)

COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) [I]

Unfortunately, this is easily one of the most abundant birds we saw on our trip and we tallied them daily. Of course, they're introduced and not native at all. In fact, the IUCN declared these as one of only three birds among the world's 100 worst invasive species.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos) [I]

Hawaii seems to be the only spot that this species has been introduced to. Now found on all the main islands, these mimics were brought in the 1920s. For us, we encountered them just a couple of times.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

OMAO (Myadestes obscurus) [E]

This native and endemic thrush is found only on Hawaii where the population trend is somewhat unknown. It's estimated that up to 110,000 remain and so it's considered Near Threatened. We encountered a couple in Hakalau Forest NWR as we walked the trail.

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)

WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA (Copsychus malabaricus) [I]

Native to Asia and into India, this colorful, long-tailed species was a rather fun one to encounter. They were first brought to Kauai in 1931 and then to Oahu in 1940. Currently, they're found mostly on Oahu, Kauai, and Maui. There are no records from the island of Hawaii as of yet.

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

AFRICAN SILVERBILL (Euodice cantans) [I]

Native to central Africa and the Middle East, this grass-loving species was seen just a couple of times. They've since spread to all the main Hawaiian Islands.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The White-rumped Shama is another common introduced species. Even though they're not native to Hawaii, it was still interesting birding when one of these would pop into view. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

JAVA SPARROW (Padda oryzivora) [I]

Considered to be an agricultural pest in some places, it's a shame that these have become established on all the main Hawaiian Islands. We encountered these distinctive exotics at various city parks and the ballfield area at the Waikoloa Skatepark.

SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata) [I]

This grass-loving species was one of the most frequently encountered exotic in some locations. These are native to Asia but have spread and are now established at numerous spots around the world.

CHESTNUT MUNIA (Lonchura atricapilla) [I]

We had nice scope views of this distinctive exotic at the Princeville Makai Golf Course and other random roadsides. Within Hawaii, these are seen mostly on Oahu, Kauai, and Maui.

COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild) [I]

Although these are native to southern Africa, they've spread across the globe and can be found firmly established in places like eastern South America, various spots in Asia, and of course Hawaii where they're found on all the major islands. For us, we encountered them mostly on Oahu where they seem to have the firmest grip.

RED AVADAVAT (Amandava amandava) [I]

Yet another grass-loving exotic, these were introduced to Hawaii from India and Thailand. Found mostly on Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Of all the Hawaiian honeycreepers, none are more well-known or recognizable than the Iiwi. Check out the crazy curved bill! Photo by participant Larry Taylor.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

This introduced exotic needs no introduction. Tallied daily.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

PALILA (Loxioides bailleui) [E]

Endemic to the island of Hawaii, this is a critically endangered species with probably fewer than 1000 remaining and a population trend that seems to be plummeting. For us, the only encounter we had was a calling flyover. Unfortunately, it didn't stick around for everyone.

APAPANE (Himatione sanguinea) [E]

This curve-billed, red endemic is found on all the main islands making it the most widespread of the Hawaiian honeycreepers. Thankfully their populations seem to be stable and they aren't considered to be vulnerable at the moment. We saw them numerous times, both on Kauai and Hawaii.

IIWI (Drepanis coccinea) [E]

This bright scarlet honeycreeper might be the most easily recognizable of the bunch. Found mostly on the island of Hawaii, this curve-billed specialty was seen numerous times along the Pua Akala Tract in the Hakalau Forest NWR. These are considered vulnerable and have been increasingly difficult to find on Kauai.

AKIAPOLAAU (Hemignathus wilsoni) [E]

This rare honeycreeper is an endangered endemic found only on the island of Hawaii. With a population of only 1300 and a decreasing population trend, it's one of the many Hawaiian species in grave peril. The biology of this species is really fascinating though; the stout lower mandible is used like a woodpecker's bill whereas the very long, curved upper mandible is used to pry things out of crevices. This was one of our final finds in Hakalau Forest NWR.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Hawaii Amakihi was fairly common for us during our time on the Big Island. This was a great tour for getting to see and study the differences between the various amakihis from all the islands. Photo by participant Paul Beerman.

ANIANIAU (Magumma parva) [E]

This endangered, yellow honeycreeper is endemic to Kauai. The population is estimated to be 3000 individuals but the trend is downwards. A couple of folks had a brief look at one of these along the Kaluapuhi Trail in Kōkeʻe State Park.

HAWAII AMAKIHI (Chlorodrepanis virens) [E]

Of all the amakihis we saw on our trip, this one, which is endemic to the island of Hawaii, was the most common for us. We saw them in Hakalau Forest NWR and also up around the Palila Discovery Trail.

OAHU AMAKIHI (Chlorodrepanis flava) [E]

One of our very first stops on the tour was up along the Manoa Cliffs Trail on Oahu. It was there that we connected with this endemic honeycreeper. We don't know how stable the population is but it is considered Near Threatened by the IUCN.

HAWAII CREEPER (Loxops mana) [E]

This is an endangered endemic found only on the island of Hawaii. The population is now estimated to be fewer than 10,000 and the trend is downward. Lucky for us, the Pua Akala Tract in Hakalau Forest NWR yielded a couple and they preformed really well! Note that this shares the same genus as the following species.

HAWAII AKEPA (Loxops coccineus) [E]

Our hike in the Hakalau Forest NWR was a good one for this endemic as well. This is yet another endangered specialty with an ominous future; fewer than 11,000 remain and the population trend is dropping. The brilliant orange of this species helped it stand out for us.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Apapane is a native honeycreeper but one that seems to be faring alright so far. We enjoyed seeing them on multiple islands once we got up in elevation a little. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) [I]

This is a widespread introduced exotic and one that is familiar to us from North America.

YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Crithagra mozambica) [I]

Native to southeastern Africa, this exotic can now be found on Oahu and Hawaii. We had them a number of times including at Kapiolani Park in Honolulu.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

WESTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella neglecta) [I]

It was a bit odd to be around these but sure enough, they're introduced to Kauai where it's still possible to see them in grassy areas.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) [I]

This familiar species to those of us from eastern North America has also been introduced to Hawaii where they're now common on all the main islands. We saw them numerous times.

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

RED-CRESTED CARDINAL (Paroaria coronata) [I]

These attractive exotics were introduced in the 1930s from central South America. Now, they're one of the most common songbirds on Oahu, Kauai, and Maui.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The friendly Hawaii Elepaio was a welcome visitor as we birded on the Big Island late in the tour. Sometimes they were curious and actually came closer to check us out! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

YELLOW-BILLED CARDINAL (Paroaria capitata) [I]

Like the previous species, this exotic is native to South America. Within Hawaii, it's found only on the island of Hawaii We saw a couple at the Waikoloa Skatepark pretty well.

SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola) [I]

Although this bright species is widespread and native to South America, they've been introduced to many more places around the world. One such place is Hawaii where they're now found on all the main islands.


SMALL INDIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes auropunctatus) [I]

This two-foot long predator was introduced to Hawaii in 1883 to control the rat population that was harming the sugarcane fields. Problem is, the rats are nocturnal and the mongoose is diurnal so it didn't really even work! Mongoose are serious pests now and they can cause millions of dollars in damages not to mention eat all the critically endangered species. In Hawaii, it's now illegal to introduce, keep, or breed any mongoose whatsoever.

HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL (Monachus schauinslandi) [E]

It was a treat to see some of these hauled out onto the beaches. These Hawaiian endemics are considered endangered and the population is estimated to be only at 632!

DOMESTIC CATTLE (Bos taurus) [I]

In the 1790s, Captain George Vancouver gifted 12 of these to the the local Hawaiian king. That king then made it illegal to hunt cattle. The result is that thousands of these still roam part of the island of Hawaii.

DOMESTIC GOAT (Capra hircus) [I]

It's estimated that 2000 of these are left roaming on Hawaii. Problem is, it's sometimes hard to tell which are the wild ones.


GREEN SEA TURTLE (Chelonia mydas) [E]

It's thought that more than 6500 of these are present around the Hawaiian Islands and the population trend looks to actually be increasing. We were lucky and got to enjoy watching them loafing on the beach. One of them was wearing a transmitter too.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Last but not least, we saw a few interesting insects too including this Hawaiian Blue, an endemic species of butterfly. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

Totals for the tour: 78 bird taxa and 4 mammal taxa