Guide to the Birds of Hawaii

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Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Guide to the Birds of Hawaii

A lot of people who come to Hawaii expect to see rare, tropical birds cruising the malls, hovering in the trees and swooping from the ridges. Sorry. You may have seen that in a movie, but it doesn’t actually ever happen here. There are “bird guys” wandering around in Waikiki and stationed in the International Market Place who have exotic birds on their shoulders and on perches with whom you can have your picture taken, but don’t expect a wild parrot to land on your towel on the beach.

Eagles, hawks and owls are around and can be seen occasionally, if you happen to be looking in the right direction. (You will be looking around a lot while you’re here because there’s so much to see.)

Yes, we have our parrots and cockatoos, but they generally hang out where you aren’t likely to spot them and you surely won’t be able to get up close and personal. Some arboretums and reserves keep them available for your at-a-distance scrutiny, and there actually are guided birding tours on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii. The state bird, the Nene Goose, likes the Volcano area on the Big Island, and you can see one there, maybe. (It’s a goose.)

Most of the birds we see every day are pretty ordinary.

And we have our pests, as you do. Pigeons and doves hang out where visitors accumulate, especially around the food concessions, and THEY WANT YOU TO FEED THEM! It’s okay if you feed them, but that’s why they’re pests. Lots of our homes are on the water. Ducks have learned that kids like to feed ducks. We discourage our kids from feeding ducks because it’s hard to get rid of them (the ducks) after they’re fed. Duck are real pests with the noise they make and the deposits they leave behind when they finally leave.

Egrets are white and pretty. They look a little like small swans. They hang out on the backs of cattle – horses and cows. They also make their ways into residential neighborhoods and pick at newly-mowed lawns and common areas for the bugs their cousins are plucking from the backs of horses and cows.

All in all, we don’t get too excited about birds in Hawaii. If you’re a bird watcher and would be excited by the 300 or so species we have doing their things on our islands, give us a call (1-800-843-8771) or pick an agent on our Web site home page ( We’ll fix you up with experts who will take you to where you can see and film or tape the ones that fascinate you most.

By the way. No robins. We don’t need them to tell us when spring is here. Spring feels a whole lot like winter and summer and fall in Hawaii.