Native Birds of Hawaiʻi

Native Birds of Hawaiʻi

Hawaiʻi's native birds

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

Or jump to: Forest Bird Audio

An image of a nēnē
An image of a black-footed albatross, kaʻupu
An image of a kolea


Nā Manu Nahele: Forest Birds

Hawaiʻi’s forest birds are world-famous for their diversity, beauty, and (unfortunately) their rarity. Of 84 forest bird species we know of, 28 species are considered “prehistoric,” meaning they are only known from the fossil record and were extinct before modern record keeping began for bird observations. Of the remaining 56 species that existed in Hawaiʻi during its era of human habitation, 30 have gone extinct or are presumed to be extinct. That leaves just 26 forest bird species still in existence today, and 24 of those species are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as vulnerable, near-threatened, threatened, endangered, or critically endangered. Only two native forest bird species are designated as having healthy populations that are of the “least concern” for extinction risk: the ʻapapane and the Hawaiʻi ʻamakihi.

Forest Birds: Hawks, Owls, and Crows

Hawaiʻi Island
Near Threatened

All Main Islands
State-listed Endangered (Oʻahu)

Extinct in the Wild
Critically endangered

Forest Birds: Flycatchers

Kauaʻi ʻelepaioKauaʻi ʻElepaio

Oʻahu ʻelepaioOʻahu ʻElepaio

Hawaiʻi ʻElepaioHawaiʻi ʻElepaio

Forest Birds: Thrushes




Critically Endangered

Forest Birds: Warblers

Nihoa MillerbirdUlūlu or Nihoa Millerbird
Critically Endangered

Forest Birds: Honeyeaters


Forest Birds: Honeycreepers

Kona GrosbeakKona Grosbeak

Hawaiʻi ʻAmakihiHawaiʻi ʻAmakihi
Least Concern

Oʻahu ʻAmakihiOʻahu ʻAmakihi

Kauaʻi ʻAmakihiKauaʻi ʻAmakihi

Maui NukupuʻuMaui Nukupuʻu

Least Concern

Critically Endangered

Hawaiʻi ʻAkepaHawaiʻi ʻĀkepa

Critically Endangered

Critically endangered

Critically endangered


Maui ʻAlauahioMaui ‘Alauahio

Lānaʻi ʻAlauahioLānaʻi  ‘Alauahio
Presumed extinct

Critically Endangered


Laysan FinchLaysan Finch

Nihoa FinchNihoa Finch
Critically Endangered


Forest Bird Audio

Hover your mouse over any bird to see its name, and click to hear its song. Our forest image below contains birds from all across the Hawaiʻi, but in real life some of these birds would never meet since they live on different islands.

Island Choruses

Ready to be immersed in a forest teeming with birds? The tracks below play a forest bird chorus for each island, mixing the birdsongs of native forest birds within each island for Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, and Hawaiʻi Island.

Chorus: Kauaʻi

Chorus: Oʻahu

Chorus: Maui

Chorus: Hawaiʻi Island

Birdsongs by Island, Narrated

The tracks below present forest birds from each island, played in sequence (rather than as a chorus). The tracks are narrated with the names of the birds you’ll hear.

Birdsongs: Kauaʻi

Birdsongs: Oʻahu

Birdsongs: Maui

Birdsongs: Hawaiʻi Island

See the bottom of this page for audio credits.



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 duck

Laysan duck



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)



Some of the audio used on this page was mixed from original tracks at, including XC216038 – Akikiki – Oreomystis bairdi- Patrick Blake; XC27320 – Akekee – Loxops caeruleirostris – Dan Lane; XC144892 – Puaiohi – Myadestes palmeri- Eric Vanderwerf; XC27338 – Anianiau – Magumma parva- Dan Lane; XC27316 – Kauai Amakihi – Chlorodrepanis stejnegeri- Daniel Lane; XC27337 – Kauai Elepaio – Chasiempis sclateri- Daniel Lane; XC58937 – Iiwi – Drepanis coccinea- Frank Lambert; XC505432 – Apapane – Himatione sanguinea- Rich Sharloch; XC454888 – Oahu Amakihi – Chlorodrepanis flava- Sean Erroll MacDonald; XC410155 – Oahu Elepaio – Chasiempis ibidis- Dan Lane; XC122342 – Akohekohe – Palmeria dolei- Brooks Rownd; XC123887 – Maui Parrotbill – Pseudonestor xanthophrys- Brooks Rownd; XC58973 – Maui Alauahio – Paroreomyza montana- Frank Lambert; XC503722 – Hawaii Amakihi – Chlorodrepanis virens- Pheonix birder; XC124707 – Hawaiian Hawk – Buteo solitarius- Brooks Rownd; XC124794 – Hawaii Akepa – Loxops coccineus- Brooks Rownd; XC175246 – Hawaii Elepaio – Chasiempis sandwichensis bryani- Dan Lane; XC145608 – Palila – Loxioides bailleui- Eric Wanderwerf; XC747456 – Akiapolaau – Hemignathus wilsoni- Brooks Rownd; XC127667 – Alawai Hawaii Creeper – Loxops mana; XC27372 – Short-eared Owl – Asio flammeus- Dan Lane; XC58932 – Omao – Myadestes obscurus- Frank Lambert