Hawaii is often called paradise and it’s easy to see why. But behind all the iconic images of lush mountain scenery, tranquil, fish-filled seas, and a rich and dynamic island culture, is a treasure trove of birdlife that few know, including some of the most unusual and striking species anywhere in the world.
We invite you to travel to the Aloha State with ABA friends from both the islands and the mainland and to experience this magical place and its birds in a way that simply isn’t available to those traveling alone or as part of more typical tourist itineraries. It is an ideal way to celebrate Hawaii’s recent inclusion as part of the ABA Area and to enjoy a birding vacation with great food, warm weather, and all the charms that have lured people to Hawaii for centuries.
We will visit three islands—Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island, Hawaii. Our itineraries will give us very good to excellent chances to see an excellent selection of Hawaii’s native birdlife with stunners like Iiwi, Palila, Apapane, Omao, Hawaii Creeper, Akepa, Anianiau, and 3 species of amakihis and elepaios being likely. We’ve even had great luck finding the bold and bizarre Akiapolau, the Hawaiian honeycreeper that forages like a woodpecker. And if all those names seem like a confusing jumble, suffice it to say that they represent a riotous tropical bouquet of reds, yellows, greens, and oranges, accented by amazing bills, behaviors, and voices, most or all of whom will be old friends once you’ve birded here.
And we haven’t even mentioned the seabirds yet. Boobies, tropicbirds, shearwaters, petrels, all should put in appearances and we’ll seek the fairy-like White Tern, which improbably nests and roosts along some of Honolulu’s swankest boulevards.
In the open country and freshwater wetlands, we’ll enjoy encounters with Hawaii’s state bird, the distinctive and beautiful Nene, and a fine assortment of others waders and marsh birds—with the globally-scarce Bristle-thighed Curlew heading the list of exciting possibilities.
Finally, the many introduced species of birds here, from francolins to waxbills, are also of considerable interest, and we’ll attempt to see and learn about most of them, too, while prioritizing the native species.
Throughout the tour, we’ll enjoy comfortable accommodations, spending most of our nights right along the Pacific Ocean. Having Hawaii Forest and Trail as our outfitters means that we’ll have wonderful access to some seldom birding sites, on both public and private lands.
We will conclude our rally the day the The Hawaii Island Festival of Birds begins and we encourage you to stay on and join in the activities of the Festival, where you’ll have the chance to meet and learn from some of Hawaii’s leading birders, conservationists, and artists. The Birder targeted shopping is pretty great.
By traveling with the ABA you are not only enjoying great birding, you are supporting bird conservation and acting as an ambassador for the ABA community. We hope you’ll join a superb team of leaders and fellow ABA members for a most enjoyable and memorable visit to paradise. Aloha!
Excursions will be led by local guides, Rob Pacheco and Mandy Talpas. Your ABA host is Liz Gordon (additional hosts TBA).