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O‘ahu Birding

There are several good spots for birding on Oahu; however, endemic forest birds are primarily isolated in inaccessible areas, though there are a few publically accessible trails where you can encounter ‘apapane and ‘amakihi. Some of the best seabird watching is in northwest O‘ahu, and the mountain trails above Honolulu and on the windward side also offer good birding.

Best Spots To See The Birds of Oahu

Ahupua‘a ‘O Kahana State Park

Located on O‘ahu’s windward side between Ka‘a‘awa and Punalu‘u, good birding can be had at Kahana State Park. A wide variety of birds of Oahu make the park home, including a host of endemic and migratory waterfowl. Migratory species such as plovers, wandering tattlers, ruddy turnstones, and black-tailed herons abound during the fall and winter months, and permanent endemic residents including the endangered ʻalae keʻokeʻo (Hawaiian coot) and ʻalae ‘ula (Hawaiian gallinule) can be seen. Park trails wind into the mountain forest, where you can experience endemic ‘apapane and ‘amakihi as well as a fair population of introduced species.

‘Aiea Loop Trail

Nestled on the outskirts of the Honolulu suburb of ‘Aiea is the ‘Aiea Loop Trail. One would think that being so close to Honolulu you wouldn’t see a large variety of bird life, but this trail boasts at least 20 species, including the occasional endemic bird. Endemic visitors include ‘amakihi, ‘apapane, and ‘elepaio, however sightings of these birds of Oahu are not frequent. You can see many introduced avian species including honeycreepers, cardinals, and mynahs. One of the most remarkable bird sightings on the ‘Aiea Loop Trail was that of a small flock of endangered Mariana Swiftlets.

James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge

The James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge is home to a number of endemic Hawaiian birds on Oahu, including ae‘o (Hawaiian stilts), ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coots), seldom seen ‘alae ‘ula (Hawaiian gallinule), kōloa (Hawaiian ducks), and pueo (Hawaiian owls). The refuge is also an overwintering habitat for a number of migratory species such as plovers, curlews, wandering tattlers, ruddy turnstones, wedge-tailed shearwaters, and over 30 species of migratory ducks and geese. The James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge is open from September through mid-February, and the Hawai‘i Audubon Society offers guided tours of the refuge in the fall.

Bird Watching Tour Companies on O‘ahu

If you want to practically guarantee that you’ll experience great birding, go with a birding guide. Michael Walther is an environmental scientist and one of Hawai‘i’s top birding guides, and he knows all the best birding spots. With four great birding tours, you can experience the best birding on Oahu with a pro in the know.

Duck, Duck… Go!

Going out on an O‘ahu birding trip can give you a good dose of country while still being able to enjoy the big city. We want to see you get the most out of your O‘ahu birding experience, so contact us at ILoveHawaii.com to plan a great birding adventure.