Download the complete Big Island Birding Guide with driving directions.


The Big Island provides great locations for spotting native forest birds and the Hawaiian Goose, Nene. In addition, visitors may be able to spot some seabirds, waterbirds, and open country birds. 

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park - Visitors may spot ‘Oma‘o, ‘Apapane, ‘Amakihi, ‘Elepaio, ‘Io (Hawaiian Hawk) and the White-tailed Tropicbird at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, especially at the Kilauea Crater lookout near the visitor's center, the Thurston Lava Tube area, and Kīpuka Puaulu. Watch for Nene (Hawaiian Goose) on roadsides and in drier areas on the Chain of Craters Road around the Kīpuka Nene area.


Pu‘u La‘au - A good location to see the Pueo (Hawaiian Owl) and the forest birds, Palila, ‘Amakihi, ‘Elepaio, and possibly the ʻAkiapōlāʻau is Pu‘u La‘au, which is a montane dry forest region. Introduced upland and grassland birds are also seen here. To reach the area, from the Saddle Road, follow the dirt road to the north at the Hunter Check-in Station, a few miles west of Mauna Kea State Park. 

Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge - Another great location for forest birds is the Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge. The Maulua Tract of the Refuge is open to the public for bird-watching, pig hunting, hiking, and photography on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Permission is required prior to entry. Contact the Refuge Manager in Hilo at 808-933-6915 for current information on visiting opportunities.

Aimakapa Road - Seabirds and water birds may be spotted at Aimakapa Road, near Kona.