A Black-crowned Night Heron along the shoreline.

Best Birdwatching Hotspots in Hawaii: Insider’s Guide!

Hawaii, with its lush landscapes and unique biodiversity, offers birdwatchers a paradise of avian wonders. From the vibrant colors of the ‘I’iwi to the graceful flights of the Nene goose, the islands are a treasure trove for bird enthusiasts. Dive into our insider’s guide to the best birdwatching hotspots in Hawaii, where nature’s spectacle awaits at every turn.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Hawaii is home to a diverse range of bird species.
  • The lush tropical forests, stunning coastlines, and scenic parks provide the perfect setting for observing birds.
  • Birdwatching in Hawaii offers something for both experienced birders and beginners.
A Cattle Egret perched on a post.
Image by Robbie Ross from Pixabay

Best Birdwatching Hotspots in Hawaii

Discover the best birdwatching hotspots in Hawaii. Explore unique habitats like Hakalau Forest, Waimea Canyon, and Kealia Pond. Witness a variety of bird species in their natural splendor amidst the island’s stunning landscapes.

Exploring the Best Birdwatching Spots in Hawaii

If you’re looking for the best birdwatching spots in Hawaii, you won’t be disappointed. From tropical rainforests to coastal wetlands, Hawaii’s varied landscapes offer a home to an incredible array of bird species. Here are some of the best spots to explore:

LocationBird SpeciesFeatures
Haleakalā National ParkHawaiian Petrel, Maui Parrotbill, ‘ApapaneThe park’s summit offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area and is a great spot to see native birds.
Kealia Pond National Wildlife RefugeHawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Stilt, Black-crowned Night HeronA coastal wetland that’s home to a wide variety of bird species, including several endangered species.
Hakalau Forest National Wildlife RefugeHawaiian Honeycreeper, Akiapolaau, IiwiA protected forest that’s home to some of Hawaii’s rarest bird species.

Other Notable Spots

In addition to the above locations, there are several other spots in Hawaii that are worth exploring:

If you’re interested in seeking out specific bird species, it’s helpful to do a bit of research before your trip. Some of Hawaii’s most sought-after birds include the Hawaiian Goose, the Pueo (Hawaiian Owl), and the ‘Io (Hawaiian Hawk).

“Hawaii’s varied landscapes offer a home to an incredible array of bird species.”

No matter where you choose to go birdwatching in Hawaii, be sure to bring a pair of binoculars and a field guide to help you identify the birds you see. With a little bit of luck and patience, you’re sure to have an unforgettable birdwatching experience in the Aloha State.

Birdwatching Locations in Hawaii: A Guide for Nature Enthusiasts

Hawaii is a birdwatcher’s paradise, offering an abundance of unique species and breathtaking landscapes. While some popular birdwatching spots in Hawaii attract many tourists, there are also some lesser-known locations that provide incredible birdwatching experiences for those willing to venture off the beaten path.

Here are some of our top picks for birdwatching locations in Hawaii:

LocationUnique FeaturesBird Species
Haleakalā National ParkA dormant volcano that houses endangered species such as the Hawaiian Petrel and the Maui Parrotbill.Hawaiian Petrel, Maui Parrotbill, Apapane, I’iwi, and many more.
Waimea Canyon State ParkKnown for its stunning panoramic views and several hiking trails, Waimea Canyon State Park is home to numerous bird species that are unique to Hawaii.Hawaiian Honeycreeper, Akepa, Amakihi, Hawaiian Hawk, and more.
Kīlauea National Wildlife RefugeFamous for its volcanic landscapes and rare bird species, Kīlauea National Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit location for every bird enthusiast.Hawaiian Stilt, Hawaiian Coot, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Hawaiian Duck, and more.

These three locations are just a small sample of the many birdwatching spots in Hawaii. Whether you’re an experienced birdwatcher or a beginner, these destinations offer a unique opportunity to observe some of the most remarkable bird species in the world.

Top Birdwatching Sites in Hawaii: Nature’s Hidden Gems

Hawaii is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with a vast array of bird species to observe and enjoy. While some birdwatching spots are more well-known than others, there are also hidden gems waiting to be discovered. These top birdwatching sites in Hawaii might be off the beaten path, but they offer incredible experiences for nature enthusiasts.

Koke’e State Park

Koke’e State Park is located on Kauai Island and boasts an impressive variety of birds, including the endangered Hawaiian goose and the akekee. The Alakai Swamp Trail is a popular spot for birdwatchers, where you can spot the rare and beautiful apapane and the i’iwi. The park is also home to the Koke’e Nature Museum, where visitors can learn more about the local flora and fauna.

Pu’u O’o Trail

The Pu’u O’o Trail is a unique birdwatching spot located on Hawaii Island. The trail is a moderate hike, but the reward is the chance to observe rare birds such as the Hawaii akepa and the amakihi. Visitors can also enjoy stunning views of the crater and the coastline.

Kula Forest Reserve

The Kula Forest Reserve located on Maui Island is a lesser-known birdwatching spot that is worth exploring. The reserve is home to the Maui parrotbill and the akiapolaau, which has a unique beak that is adapted to foraging for insects. The reserve also offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes.

These top birdwatching sites in Hawaii offer unique opportunities to observe rare and beautiful bird species in their natural habitats. As with any birdwatching expedition, remember to practice responsible birdwatching and respect the birds and their habitats. Happy birdwatching!

Birdwatching Tips for Hawaii: Enhance Your Experience

Birdwatching in Hawaii can be an unforgettable experience. To fully take advantage of this incredible opportunity, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your birdwatching adventure:

  • Timing is everything: The best time to birdwatch in Hawaii is during the winter months, when migratory bird species are present. However, many resident bird species can be seen year-round.
  • Bring the right gear: A good pair of binoculars is a must-have for birdwatching. Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes for walking on uneven terrain. Don’t forget sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • Know the bird species: Familiarize yourself with the bird species that can be found in the area you’re visiting. Bring a field guide or download a birding app to help you identify species you encounter.

Here are a few additional tips to help you enhance your birdwatching experience in Hawaii:

  1. Listen for bird calls: Many bird species in Hawaii are vocal and can be heard before they are seen. Learning to identify bird calls can greatly enhance your ability to spot different bird species.
  2. Be respectful of the environment: Stay on designated trails and avoid disturbing bird habitats. Keep a safe distance from birds and other wildlife, and avoid touching or feeding birds.
  3. Join a birdwatching tour: Consider joining a guided birdwatching tour led by an expert who can provide valuable insights and help you spot elusive bird species.

Following these tips can help you have a safe and enjoyable birdwatching experience in Hawaii. With its abundance of bird species and stunning natural landscapes, Hawaii is truly a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Must-Visit Birdwatching Places in Hawaii: Spectacular Vistas Await

If you’re looking for a birdwatching adventure in Hawaii that offers breathtaking views and unique bird species, you won’t want to miss these must-visit locations:

LocationHighlightsBird Species
Haleakala National ParkStunning vistas of the volcano and surrounding landscapeHawaiian Honeycreepers, ‘Apapane, ‘I’iwi, and ‘Akohekohe
Hanalei National Wildlife RefugeLush tropical rainforest and serene wetlandsHawaiian Duck, Hawaiian Moorhen, and Hawaiian Coot
Kilauea Point National Wildlife RefugePicturesque lighthouse and towering cliffs overlooking the oceanLaysan Albatross, Red-footed Booby, and White-tailed Tropicbird

These locations provide unforgettable birdwatching experiences and showcase the beauty of Hawaii’s natural landscapes. Make sure to add these top birdwatching sites to your itinerary for your next adventure in Hawaii.

Nene the  Hawaiian Goose on grass.
Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Birdwatching Tours in Hawaii: Expert-Guided Adventures

For birdwatching enthusiasts looking to enhance their experience, Hawaii offers a wide range of guided tours led by expert birdwatchers who can provide valuable insights and knowledge about the unique bird species found in the state.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced birder, guided tours offer an opportunity to explore some of Hawaii’s lesser-known birdwatching spots and observe rare species while learning about their behavior and habitats.

Many of these tours provide transportation, equipment, and snacks, making it easy to focus on the birds without worrying about logistics. Some tours even offer customized itineraries based on your interests and skill level, ensuring a personalized and unforgettable experience.

Discovering the Bird Species of Hawaii: A Fascinating Array

Hawaii is home to a diverse range of bird species, with many unique to the islands. The lush tropical vegetation and varied landscapes provide habitats for an array of birdlife, making Hawaii a birdwatcher’s paradise.

One of the most iconic bird species in Hawaii is the Hawaiian Honeycreeper, also known as the ʻIʻiwi. This bird has bright red feathers and a curved beak, and can be found in the forests of the Big Island and Maui. Another endemic species is the Hawaiian Goose, or Nene, which can be seen grazing in grasslands and nesting near streams.

The Hawaiian Owl, or Pueo, is another fascinating bird species found in Hawaii. They can be spotted hunting for prey at night in open fields or perched among the trees in forests. The endangered Hawaiian Crow, or ʻAlalā, is a rare sight that can be found only in captivity on the Big Island as part of a conservation program.

The Many Colors of Hawaii’s Birds

Hawaii’s bird species come in a range of vibrant colors, from bright yellow and orange to deep blue and green. The Golden Plover, or Kolea, is a migratory bird that turns to a deep, golden hue during mating season.

The Pacific Golden Plover, or Manu ʻAhihi, has striking black and white plumage and can be seen in the coastal regions of Hawaii. The Blue-Fronted Parrot Finch, also known as the ʻĀkepa, has a bright blue head and a yellow-green body, and can be found in the forests of Maui and the Big Island.

Unique Habitats for Hawaii’s Birds

The varied landscapes of Hawaii provide a diverse array of habitats for birds. The wet forests of Kauai are home to the endangered Kauai Elepaio, a small bird with a curved beak that can be found perched in the canopy. The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai’s north shore is a nesting area for the Red-Footed Booby, a seabird with unique red webbed feet.

The coastal cliffs and lava fields of Hawaii’s Big Island provide a habitat for the Hawaiian Hawk, or ʻIo, a bird of prey that can often be seen circling the skies. The shrublands of Maui are home to the Maui Parrotbill, a bird with a distinctive beak that feeds on nectar and insects.

Conservation Efforts for Hawaii’s Birds

Due to their unique habitats and fragile ecosystems, many of Hawaii’s bird species are endangered or face threats from introduced species such as rats and cats. To protect Hawaii’s birds and their habitats, there are numerous conservation efforts underway.

The Hawaii Audubon Society provides education and advocacy for Hawaii’s bird species, while the Hawaii Wildlife Center works to rehabilitate injured birds and release them back into their natural habitats. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources also oversees conservation efforts and manages critical habitats throughout the state.

Hawaiian Birdwatching Trails: Exploring Nature’s Beauty

If you’re an avid birdwatcher visiting Hawaii, you won’t want to miss exploring the beautiful birdwatching trails the state has to offer. With a range of difficulty levels, these trails provide the perfect opportunity to view a variety of bird species in their natural habitats. Here are some of the top birdwatching trails to explore in Hawaii:

Trail NameLocationBird Species
Aiea Loop TrailOahuHawaiian Honeycreeper, Apapane, Iiwi, Elepaio
Haleakala National ParkMauiHawaiian Honeycreepers, Hawaiian Petrel, Mauna Kea Silversword

Each of these trails offers a unique and unforgettable birdwatching experience. The Aiea Loop Trail on Oahu takes you through lush forests with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. You’ll have the opportunity to spot the Hawaiian honeycreeper, apapane, iiwi, and elepaio.

The Haleakala National Park on Maui offers a variety of trails that take you through diverse landscapes, including rainforests, volcanic peaks, and desert-like terrain.

Here, you’ll have the opportunity to spot Hawaiian honeycreepers, Hawaiian petrels, and the unique Mauna Kea silversword.

When exploring these trails, it’s important to be respectful of the environment and the birds that call it home. Stay on designated paths, avoid making loud noises, and refrain from feeding the birds.

Remember to bring plenty of water, wear comfortable shoes, and pack sunscreen and insect repellent.

With some patience and a keen eye, you’ll have the opportunity to observe some of Hawaii’s most fascinating bird species in their natural habitats.

Uncover Hawaii’s Birds: An Unforgettable Experience

If you’re planning a birdwatching trip to Hawaii, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The state is home to a diverse range of bird species, many of which can only be found on the islands. To make the most of your trip, consider the following tips:

Best Time to Visit

The best time to go birdwatching in Hawaii is during the winter months from November to February. During this time, many migratory bird species such as the Pacific golden plover, red-winged blackbird, and snowy egret can be spotted. However, Hawaii has a year-round bird population, so you can visit anytime and still see plenty of birds.

What to Bring

When visiting Hawaii for birdwatching, make sure to bring a good pair of binoculars and a field guide so you can easily identify the various species. It is also essential to wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

Where to Go

Hawaii has many excellent birdwatching locations, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and botanical gardens. Some popular spots include the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Waimea Canyon State Park, and the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. For a more unique birdwatching experience, consider checking out Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano that is home to the endangered palila bird.

Expert-Guided Tours

If you want to ensure you see as many bird species as possible, consider taking an expert-guided birdwatching tour. Many companies offer tours that are led by knowledgeable birdwatchers who can help you spot and identify a wide variety of bird species.

Overall, Hawaii is an incredible destination for birdwatchers. With its diverse range of bird species, stunning scenery, and expert guides, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.


Birdwatching in Hawaii is truly an unforgettable experience. With its lush tropical landscapes, unique habitats, and diverse array of bird species, Hawaii is a paradise for any nature enthusiast or birdwatching enthusiast.

From the best birdwatching spots in the state to the top birdwatching sites often overlooked by tourists, Hawaii offers an incredible range of locations to explore. Whether you’re a seasoned birdwatcher or a beginner, there are plenty of trails and tours available to suit your needs and preferences.

With this comprehensive guide, you now have all the information and resources needed to plan your perfect birdwatching adventure in Hawaii. So pack your binoculars and join us in discovering the fascinating array of bird species that call Hawaii home.

A Red-whiskered bulbul perched in a tree.
Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

FAQs: Best Birdwatching Hotspots in Hawaii

What is birdwatching?

Birdwatching, also known as birding, is the observation and study of wild birds in their natural habitats. It is a popular recreational activity for nature enthusiasts and bird lovers.

Why is Hawaii a popular destination for birdwatching?

Hawaii is home to a wide variety of bird species, many of which are endemic to the islands. The unique tropical environment and diverse ecosystems make it a paradise for birdwatchers.

What are some of the best birdwatching spots in Hawaii?

Some of the best birdwatching spots in Hawaii include Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Waimea Canyon State Park, and Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

What are some tips for birdwatching in Hawaii?

It is recommended to bring binoculars, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a field guide to help identify bird species. It is also important to respect the birds’ habitats and follow any regulations or guidelines in place.

When is the best time to visit Hawaii for birdwatching?

The best time to visit Hawaii for birdwatching is during the spring and fall months when migratory birds are passing through the islands. However, birdwatching can be enjoyed year-round in Hawaii.

Are there guided birdwatching tours available in Hawaii?

Yes, there are guided birdwatching tours available in Hawaii. These tours are led by expert birdwatchers who can provide valuable insights and enhance the overall birdwatching experience.

What are some of the bird species that can be found in Hawaii?

Some of the bird species that can be found in Hawaii include the Hawaiian honeycreeper, the nene (Hawaiian goose), the ‘i’iwi, and the Hawaiian petrel.

Are there any birdwatching trails in Hawaii?

Yes, there are birdwatching trails in Hawaii that offer opportunities to observe birds in their natural habitats. Some popular trails include the Maunawili Trail on Oahu and the Alakai Swamp Trail on Kauai.

Where can I find more resources and organizations for birdwatching in Hawaii?

There are several resources and organizations dedicated to birdwatching in Hawaii. The Hawaii Audubon Society and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources are great resources to start with.

Why is birdwatching in Hawaii an unforgettable experience?

Birdwatching in Hawaii offers the chance to see unique bird species in stunning natural landscapes. The combination of the tropical environment, diverse ecosystems, and endemic bird species make it a truly unforgettable experience.


  • Vince S

    Meet Vince, the passionate founder and author of Learn Bird Watching, boasting 30 years of birding experience. With an unwavering mission to empower fellow bird enthusiasts, Vince shares invaluable wisdom and guidance. As a dedicated moderator and contributor to Quora's Bird Watchers' Club, he actively engages with the birding community, where his insightful answers have garnered over 440,000 views and over 2,670 upvotes. Whether you're a budding birder or a seasoned avian aficionado, his wealth of knowledge is at your service.