Hawai‘i is known for being a melting pot, and that doesn’t just apply to the people who live here. It is home to hundreds of animals that make up its eclectic ecosystem. Birds, of many interesting varieties, have made Hawai‘i their home – some of the most well-known native Hawaiian birds includes the ʻakiapōlāʻau, ʻamakihi, and the Hawaii state bird – the nēnē goose.
The ʻakiapōlāʻau is a type of honeycreeper. They are sometimes referred to as the Hawai‘i version of woodpeckers. They grow to be about 5 inches and are decorated with beautiful yellow and olive feathers. The best adventure to observe these birds would be in moist environments such as the Hakalau Forest Wildlife Refuge. The ʻamakihi is the most common native bird. It has yellow and green feathers. It loves to sip nectar and eat the insects of Hawai‘i’s rainforests. Of all of the forest birds native to Hawaii, the ʻamakihi is least affected by habitat changes. Finally, the nēnē goose is Hawaii’s state bird, found exclusively on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii. It was named the official state bird of Hawaii in 1957 and is the world’s rarest goose. They have feathers with patterns of brown, grey and white with black and white diagonal stripes, and they can be found anywhere from sea-level to 8,000 feet in elevation!
Whether you are cruising along the white sandy beaches of the Islands, taking a hike into the lush rainforests or walking along Haleakala Highway, keep an eye out for the native birds of Hawai‘i and see what they can teach you about the native ecosystem!
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