National Park Service

Native Hawaiian Forest Birds of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park

These species and subspecies are endemic to Hawai`i (occur nowhere else on earth).
Click or tap the bird's picture to hear its songs and calls.

`Apapane (Himatione sanguinea)
The most abundant species of Hawaiian honeycreeper that is known for its wide-ranging flights in search of localized blooms of ō`hi`a flowers, its primary food source. Abundant in higher elevation forests including along Crater Rim Drive and the Mauna Loa strip road, especially where ō`hi`a flowers are in bloom. The `Apapane has an incredibly diverse array of songs and calls that vary between and even within islands. Their bright crimson plumage, black wings and tail, prominent white undertail-coverts and abdomen, and long, decurved bill are characteristic. Photo © Jack Jeffrey, with permission.

`I`iwi (Vestiaria coccinea)
The `I`iwi is one of the most spectacular of extant Hawaiian birds, with vermilion plumage, black wings and tail, and a long, decurved bill. In pre-European Hawai`i, beautiful feather capes, sometimes containing hundreds of thousands of `I`iwi feathers, were a symbol of power and prestige among native Hawaiians. `I`iwi and `Apapane are well known for their long flights over the forests in search of flowers of the ō`hi`a tree, their primary food source. Typically found only in high-elevation forests of the park above 4,500 feet where mosquitos that transmit avian malaria and avian pox are less common. Photo © Jack Jeffrey, with permission.

Hawai`i `Amakihi (Hemignathus virens virens)
One of the most common native forest birds, which in recent years has sometimes been found at elevations below 3,500 feet where mosquitos and avian disease transmission are more prevalent. Hawai`i `Amakihi are nonmigratory and omnivorous, feeding mainly on insects and small arthropods and some nectar. Photo © Jack Jeffrey, with permission.

Hawai`i `Elepaio (Chasiempis sandwichensis)
`Elepaio are active, agile, and versatile flycatchers that occur in high-elevation forests of the park where they glean insects from vegetation in the understory and throughout the forest canopy, and catch insects on the wing. `Elepaio were considered `aumakua ("guiding spirit") of Hawaiian canoe makers. If an 'Elepaio pecked at a koa tree that had been cut down for canoe-making, it was regarded as unseaworthy and not used. Photo © Jack Jeffrey, with permission.

`Ōma`o (Myadestes obscurus)
Also known as the Hawaiian Thrush, it occurs only on Hawaii Island in montane rain forests above 3,000 feet. Their diet consists primarily of fruits, and supplemented by invertebrates. Photo © Jack Jeffrey, with permission.

`Akiapōlā`au (Hemignathus monroi)
Endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper found in high-elevation forests of the Kahuku unit of the park above the distribution of disease-transmitting mosquitos. Known as the Hawaiian honeycreeper with the "Swiss Army knife beak", the tree-dwelling `Akiapōlā`au moves along branches and twigs, pausing inquisitively to tap or probe the bark and epiphytes with its unique bill. Once it detects a hiding caterpiller or spider, the bird excavates the substrate and extracts the prey with its hooked beak. Photo © Jack Jeffrey, with permission.

Hawai`i Ākepa (Loxops coccineus coccineus)
Endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper found in high-elevation forests of the Kahuku unit of the park. They use their odd-shaped bills to pry open `ohi`a buds, small seed pods, and galls in search of insects and spiders. Photo © Jack Jeffrey, with permission.

Hawai`i Creeper (Loxops mana)
Endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper found in high-elevation forests of the Kahuku unit of the park. An active species, feeding nuthatch-like on branches and tree trunks for insects and spiders but sometimes foraging in foliage. Photo © Jack Jeffrey, with permission.

`Io (Buteo solitarius)
Widespread on the Island of Hawaii and regularly seen in the park. Also known as the Hawaiian Hawk. Photo © Jack Jeffrey, with permission.


Click Here to Download the Bird Checklist for the park (printable .pdf file)

Link to Photo Gallery of Birds Found along Crater Rim Drive
Link to Photo Gallery of Birds Found along Mauna Loa Strip Road

All photos on this page are copyrighted by Jack Jeffrey, and are used with permission.
Audio files are courtesy of the Macaulay Library, Cornell University, for non-commercial educational purposes.


Last Updated: April 10, 2015 Contact Webmaster