Being the most isolated archipelago in the world, the Hawaiian Island chain offers a unique birding opportunity with 26 “gettable” endemics. For birding purposes, there are four relevant islands: Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and Big Island. Birding in Hawaii can be a very frustrating adventure, but with enough dedication (or money) all of the endemics are attainable. The exceptions being Laysan Duck, Laysan Finch, and Millerbird. These three endemics are only found in the inaccessible (to normal birders at least!) Northwest islands. The most frustrating logistical aspect that a gong-ho birder will encounter while visiting the islands is the restricted access at almost all of the best birding sites. Hakalua Forest National Wildlife Refuge (Big Island) and Waikamoi Preserve (Maui) are two of the best birding locations within the state, but both require guided tours to get access. On Kauai, Koke’e State Park is open to visitors, but finding the “big three” is becoming increasingly difficult, with most sightings involving strenuous off trail hikes. Click each island to learn more about its birding locations.

Hawaii at a glance: Total”gettable” endemics 26


  •  2 island endemics (Oahu Amakihi, Oahu Elepaio)
  • 2 state endemics (Hawaiian Coot, Apapane)


  • 6 island endemics (Kauai Amakihi, Anianiau, Kauai Elepaio, Puaiohi, Akikiki, Akekee)
  • 7  state endemics (Hawaiian Coot, Nene, Koloa, Newell’s Shearwater, Hawaii Petrel, Apapane, Iiwi)


  • 3 island endemics (Akohekohe, Maui Parrotbill, Maui Creeper)
  •  7 state endemics (Hawaiian Coot, Nene, Newell’s Shearwater, Hawaii Petrel, Apapane, Iiwi, Hawaii Amakihi)

Big Island

  • 7 island endemics (Hawaiian Hawk, Palila, Hawaii Creeper, Omao, Hawaii Elepaio, Akepa, Akiapola’au)
  • 5 state endemics (Newell’s Shearwater, Hawaii Petrel, Hawaiian Coot, Nene, Koloa,  Apapane, Iiwi, Hawaii Amakihi)

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