Lowland Birds


Other Birds at Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

This list highlights a handful of the non-native birds that visitors may see at Kīlauea Point. Most of the introduced birds now found in Hawai`i were intentionally brought in for various reasons such as food sources, their songs, and pest control. Other non-natives are a result of escape from captivity. Many of the song birds were brought to Hawai`i in the early 1900s to bring birdsong back into areas that had become silent due to the disappearance of native forest birds through deforestation and urbanization.  

Some of the smaller, faster moving, introduced birds also seen at Kīlauea Point include English house sparrow, house finch, nutmeg mannikin and Japanese white-eye.


Northern cardinal

The Northern cardinal, brought to Hawai`i in 1929, is familiar to many visitors from North America. The bright red plumage of the male makes him easy to spot. The females are more subdued in their plumage. They are brown with hints of red on the head, wings and tail, and the bill is red. They are territorial and one vociferous male is frequently perched in a large ironwood tree across from the Visitor Center entrance during nesting season.


Red-crested cardinal

One of Hawai`i’s most beautiful birds is another species of cardinal called the red-crested or Brazilian cardinal. It was brought to Hawai`i from South America in the 1930s and it is a common sight on Kaua`i.  Adults have gray feathers above and white below with a striking red head crest and white bill.  Juveniles have a dark head and dark bill. 


White-rumped shama

This bird, commonly called shama thrush, was introduced to Kaua`i in 1931 from Malaysia, no doubt, because of its beautiful song. The male is an eye-catching glossy black with a rust-colored belly, white tail tips and rump. At Kīlauea Point the flash of white on the tail and rump is sometimes the first thing noticed as the bird flies to its territorial lookout spots. 


Zebra dove

This is the smaller of the dove species found in Hawai`i and is also called barred dove. It was introduced in 1922 from Malaysia and is now probably one of the most common lowland birds in the islands. The stripes on the chest and belly are the giveaway for its name.