BIRDING ON OʻAHU

Download the complete Oʻahu Birding Guide with driving directions.

 

Forest Birds - The island has few native forest birds in accessible places. However, the ʻApapane and ʻAmakihi can be seen in low numbers on most of the ridge trails in the mountains behind Honolulu (Tantalus trails, Lyon Arboretum, and ʻAiea Loop Trail are all places to look). On the Windward side of the island, the Maunawili Trail and Kahana State Park are good places to look for native forest birds. Even if one does not see an endemic bird, the song of the Shama Thrush and beautiful Red-billed Leiothrix are worth the hikes.

 

Seabirds - For seabirds, the southeast part of the island around Makapuʻu Point (easily accessible by hiking a paved trail) and Manana Island off of Makapuʻu Point is a good location to spot Frigatebirds, Boobies, Noddies, Terns, Tropicbirds, and Shearwaters. This is also one of Oʻahu's best spots to whale-watch from November through April. 

At Kaena Point State Park, Albatross may be observed, as well as other seabirds.

White Terns can be seen in urban Honolulu around the ocean and in their nesting trees, which are marked with blue tape around the trunk.

Endemic waterbirds - Enchanted Lake in Kailua, at the end of Kiukeʻe Place off of Keʻolu Drive, is one place to observe waterbirds.

James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge in Kahuku is open from mid-October through mid-February (the time when the stilts aren't nesting). To reserve your place on a tour, please call 808-637-6330. Among the migratory visitors to the refuge are Northern Pintails, Lesser Scaup, Wandering Tattlers, Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings and Bristle-thighed Curlews. Hawaii Audubon Society usually offers a field trip to the Refuge in the fall.

Introduced birds - Can be seen around Honolulu.