Native Birds of Hawaiʻi

Native Birds of Hawaiʻi

An image of an iʻiwi

Prior to the arrival of humans to the Hawaiian archipelago, the islands supported an incredibly diverse and unique avifauna comprised of at least 113 endemic species.  These species ranged from flightless geese, ibis and rails to one of the most famous cases of adaptive radiation – the Hawaiian Honeycreepers (subfamily Drepanidinae), of which at least 59 species have been described.  Hawaii also has the unfortunate distinction as one of the epicenters of the extinction of its species.  Since human colonization, 71 birds have been confirmed lost, 48 prior to the arrival of Europeans, and 23 since Captain Cook first arrived in 1778.  Of the 42 extant endemic taxa, 31 are federally listed (29 species and 2 subspecies), but 10 of these have not been observed in as many as 40 years and are of unknown status.

Key threats to the remaining species include: habitat destruction and degradation by humans and introduced ungulates, non-native diseases and predators (feral cats, barn owls, rats, and mongoose), and habitat-altering invasive plants.  Non-native mosquitoes are vectors for avian pox and avian malaria, both of which have had devastating effects on the forest bird populations, which had evolved without these threats.  Thus, most of Hawaii’s extant forest birds (passerines) are restricted to high elevation forests (above 1400 meters) or remote islands where mosquitoes are limited by temperature or absent altogether.  Managing and researching birds in these areas presents many logistical challenges, including significant expense, difficult field conditions, and the need for ongoing management.

More information on Hawaiʻi’s birds can be found at the links below. Birds marked with an asterisk (*) are presumed extinct.


An image of an ʻapapane
An image of an ʻio
An image of a nēnē
An image of a black-footed albatross, kaʻupu
An image of a kolea
An image of a Nihoa finch


Forest Birds

image of oahu eleapaio

O‘ahu ‘elepaio

image of kauai elepaio

Kaua‘i ‘elepaio

image of hawaii elepaio

Hawai‘i ‘elepaio

image of hawaii amakihi

Hawai‘i ‘amakihi

image of kauai amakihi

Kaua‘i ‘amakihi


image of oahu amakihi

O‘ahu ‘amakihi


image of anianiau


(Lesser ‘amakihi)

image of akekee


(Kaua‘i ‘akepa)

image of hawaii akepa

Hawai’i ‘ākepa


image of drawing of three maui akepa

Maui ‘ākepa*


image of omao


(Hawai‘i thrush)

image of puaiohi


(small Kaua‘i thrush)

image of drawing of kamao bird


(large Kaua‘i thrush)

image of a drawing of the olomao bird


(Moloka‘i thrush)

image of akikiki bird


(Kaua‘i creeper)

image of hawaii creeper bird


(Hawai‘i creeper)

image of maui alauahio

Maui ‘alauahio

(Maui creeper)

Image of drawing of group of oahu alauhio

Oʻahu ‘alauahio*

(O‘ahu creeper)

image of drawing of kakawahie group


(Moloka‘i creeper)

image of drawing of kauai nukupuu

Kaua‘i nuku pu‘u*


drawing of maui nukupuu

Maui nuku pu‘u*

image of kauai oo

Kauaʻi ‘ō‘ō*

drawing of bishops oo

Bishop’s ‘ō‘ō*

image of akiapolaau


image of poouli


image of apapane


image of iiwi


image of palila


image of kiwikiu


(Maui parrotbill)

image of akohekohe


(Crested honeycreeper)

image of extinct bird ou



drawing of kauai akialoa

Kaua‘i ‘akialoa*


image of alala


(Hawaiian crow)



image of io


 (Hawaiian hawk)

image of pueo


(Hawaiian short-eared owl)



koloa maoli

Koloa maoli

(Hawaiian duck)

image of alae ula

‘Alae ‘ula

(Hawaiian common moorhen)

image of hawaiian coot

‘Alae ke‘o ke‘o

(Hawaiian coot)

image of nene with two goslings


(Hawaiian goose)

image of aeo


(Hawaiian stilt)

image of aukuu


(Black-crowned night heron)



image of laysan albatross flying


(Laysan albatross)

image of a black footed-albatross


(Black-footed albatross)

image of flying bird

Koa‘e kea

(White-tailed tropicbird)

image of bird flying

Koa‘e ‘ula

(Red-tailed tropicbird)

image of bird flying


(Bulwer’s petrel)

image of bonin petrel

Bonin petrel


image of uau


(Hawaiian petrel)

image of akeake flying


(Band-rumped storm petrel)

image of tristram storm petrel

Tristram’s (sooty) storm petrel


photo of uau kani

‘Ua‘u kani

(Wedge-tailed shearwater)

image of ao flying


(Newell’s shearwater)

image of christmas shearwater

Christmas shearwater


image of manu o ku flying


(White (fairy) tern)

image of ewa ewa


(Sooty tern)

image of pakalakala


(Gray-backed tern)

image of bird


(Hawaiian black noddy)

image of noio koha or brown noddy standing

Noio kōhā

(Brown noddy)

image of blue-gray noddy

Blue-gray noddy


image of a masked booby flying


(Masked (blue-faced) booby)

image of brown footed booby


(Brown booby)

photo of red footed booby


(Red-footed booby)


(Great frigatebird)

image of a pair of short-tailed albatross

Short-tailed albatross



Migratory Birds

image of kolea or pacific golden plover


(Pacific golden plover)

image of bird


(Ruddy turnstone)

image of koloa mapu

Koloa mapu

(Northern pintail)

image of koloa moha

Koloa moha

(Northern shoveler)

image of lesser scaup

Lesser scaup


image of hunakai



image of ulili or wandering tattler


(Wandering tattler)

image of american wigeon

American wigeon


image of kioea


(Bristle-thighed curlew)


Passerines and Waterbirds of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands

image of laysan finch

Laysan finch

image of nihoa millerbird

Nihoa millerbird

image of nihoa finch

Nihoa finch

image of laysan duck

Laysan duck

* Birds marked with an asterisk (*) are presumed extinct.