Bird Watching on Kauai
The Garden Isle is home to a wide variety of birds with over 80 different species found here, making it a bird lover’s paradise. Many of the species on Kauai are rare and endangered, found nowhere else on the entire planet.
If you’d like to view some of the island’s beautiful birds, here are some of the best spots to do just that.
The once endangered Nene, or Hawaiian Goose and the state bird of Hawaii, can frequently be seen at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on the northernmost point of the island. The Kilauea Lighthouse is also part of this 203-acre refuge which includes spectacular views of the rugged coastline, a seabird sanctuary and a National Marine Life Sanctuary. This is where you’ll find the biggest colony of seabirds across all of the main islands throughout the Hawaiian archipelago.
The protected refuge is a nesting area for many native Hawaiian bird species and is the best place to see numerous seabirds like Great Frigatebirds, Red-footed Boobies and the Laysan Albatross. The magnificent Laysans frequently soar by at eye level, with this refuge one of the few places in the world where one of these glorious birds can be witnesed. Migratory shorebirds like the kōlea can also be seen from August through May.
Kokee State Park
Most of the native forest birds are found above an elevation of 3,000 feet within native forest habitats such as those found at Kokee State Park on the island’s west side, 15 miles north of Kekaha. To see some of the rarest forest birds on earth, hike along the Pihea trail through Alakai Swamp, watching for the crimson colored i’iwi, also known as the Scarlet Hawaiian Honeycreeper. Typically, this area will reveal at least 6 of the 8 endemic bird species including the i’iwi, moa and apapane.
There are miles and miles of hiking trails in the park to explore and watch for rare Hawaiian birds. By stopping in at the Kokee Natural History Museum you can find out more about the local flora and fauna.
Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge
The Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on the north side of the island was created under the Endangered Species Act to protect five endangered native Hawaiian birds including the Hawaiian goose, the stilt, coot, moorhen and the Hawaiian duck. At least 45 other bird species can also be seen here, including 18 non-native species.
The Nene can often be seen on the grassy areas between the taro patches along the banks of the river. The bird gets its name for the sound, “ney, ney,” that it makes. You might also glimpse the black-crowned night heron, white coots, moorhens, stilts and koloa ducks near the river. The stilt is usually easy to spot with long pink legs that allow it to wade through the taro ponds.
The Hawaiian Moorhen also stands out with its bright red forehead known as the frontal shield. Its neck and head are black, with feathers varying from bluish-black to slate-gray with white under-tail feathers. The Moorhen is a critically endangered species, numbering less than 1,000 birds, living mostly on Kauai and Oahu, including the taro patches of Hanalei where they are frequently seen.
Last Chance to Enter
All good things must come to an end. Our sweepstakes for a free one week stay in our Beachcomber at Hideaway Cove Poipu Beach ends the end of this month. So, if you don’t want to miss out, now is the time to enter. You’ll win a $1260 credit, which can be applied to the accommodation of your choice. So come with a friend or bring several friends and stay in one of our two or three bedrooms. We hope to see you soon at Hideaway. Good luck to everyone.