Kaua’i is the only major Hawaiian island that does not have a resident population of mongoose, therefore has an amazing wealth of bird life. All over you can find endemic birds of Kauai and a huge host of migratory and introduced avian species. There are several forest, wetland, and shore areas that offer excellent Kauai bird watching; all of them are free and open to public access.
Best Kauai Bird Watching Spots
Kōkeʻe State Park
Numerous trails lace Kōkeʻe State Park and on most of them you can experience excellent birding. Located at 4,000 feet in elevation, Kōkeʻe State Park is the starting point for trails leading into neighboring reserves, such as the Alaka‘i Swamp. The Pihea Trail offers excellent birding. Be on the lookout for ‘apapane, ‘amakihi, ʻelepaio, ʻanianiau, pueo (Hawaiian owl) and the Kauaʻi akepa. On the Alakaʻi Swamp Trail you have a better chance of spotting all of the above listed birds of Kauai as well as ʻiʻiwi and the Kauaʻi Creeper, and possibly – though the chance is remote – the rare pualohi.
Wailua River Valley
The only navigable river on the island, the Wailua River Valley is home to a number of avian species, including kōloa, ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot), Japanese bush-warblers, meadowlarks, and two thrush species. Just north of Līhu‘e on Kuamo‘o Road, exploring and birding in the Wailua River Valley is an excellent way to spend the day in nature yet still be close to town.
Kīlauea National Wildlife Refuge
For seabird viewing, Kīlauea National Wildlife Refuge is a must. Each year thousands of migratory seabirds make Kīlauea Point their temporary habitat, and the refuge is also home to a population of endemic nēnē. Red-footed boobies, Laysan and black-footed albatross, brown boobies, red-tailed and white-tailed tropicbirds, great frigatebirds, and wedge-tailed shearwaters make Kīlauea Point their winter home. Other feathered residents include kōloa, nēnē, Newell’s shearwaters, wandering tattlers, and ruddy turnstones. The refuge is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Kauai Birding Tours
Heather Riggins of Kaua‘i North Shore Customized Birding Tours offers full-day Kauai birding tours that include a hot gourmet lunch. A federally-licensed bird bander and former employee of Kīlauea National Wildlife Refuge, Heather knows her birds of Kauai and will be happy to show you a wonderful day of birding.
Fluff Your Feathers
Kaua‘i is a spectacular place to go birding, and at ILoveHawaii we want to see you get the most out of your Kaua‘i birding experience. Contact us today and we can help point you in the right direction for a fulfilling day that will fluff your feathers.