Other Birds on the North Shore of Kaua'i

This list shows both native and introduced species that you may see at Kīlauea Point or the surrounding area. Most introduced birds 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.  


Hawaiian goose – nēnē

Year-round at all three refuges

Native - reintroduced

Hawaii’s state bird, the nēnē, is an endangered species and considered to be the rarest goose in the world.  Re-introduction efforts, coupled with good management practices on the refuge and throughout the islands, are helping to increase the population. Kīlauea Point NWR was the location of one of the first re-introduction efforts on Kauai in the nineteen nineties, and since that time the population on the refuge has grown steadily. Visitors out to the Point are regularly treated to up-close views of nene and, during the breeding season, even their goslings too.


Hawaiian short-eared owl – pueo

Year-round, occasionally 


The pueo is an endemic species of owl that can sometimes be spotted by visitors hunting over the open areas at Kīlauea Point. Unlike most owl species, the pueo hunts in the daytime, though it is known to hunt at night too. Though it feeds primarily on small rodents and insects, it does not turn its beak up at seabirds and nene on the refuge. The other species of owl seen in Hawaii is the introduced barn owl.  It is larger than the pueo and primarily hunts at night. In Hawaiian culture the is revered as an important guardian spirit or aumakua.

Pacific golden plover – kōlea



The Pacific golden-plover, or kōlea, in Hawaiian, is a shorebird that migrates to and from Hawaii each year. In August it makes a non-stop, 72-hour flight from its breeding grounds in the arctic to Hawaii where it spends the winter. This little flyer travels from 5000-13,000 km one-way, depending on where in the Pacific it will overwinter.



introduced species

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.



introduced species

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. 



introduced species

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. 


Java finch



The Java finch, also known as Java rice bird, is native to Indonesia. It was first introduced into Hawai`i in the mid-1860’s but the introduction failed. About a hundred years later, in 1960, they were brought in again and this time it was successful. Java rice birds became popular cage birds in the US in the 60’s and 70’s but not long after that they were banned because they were classified as an agricultural pest. 

Japanese white-eye



In Hawai`i this little green bird is commonly called by its Japanese name “mejiro.”  It was brought to Oahu in 1929 and is common throughout all of the islands now from sea level all the way up into the forest. It is a busy little bird that rarely sits still, feeding on insects, nectar and fruit. Its presence in native forest bird habitat is problematic as it competes with native forest birds for food and can spread the seeds of invasive weeds into important native habitat. 



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