Much of the middle area of the Big Island in Hawaii is flattish, large, open habitat. In this part of the trip report, I am going to feature the birds found in Hawaii that I saw on this open country habitat.

Most of the open country species in Hawaii are introduced birds related to chickens that were brought to be game for hunters. There are also other species found in the open country including endemics such as the Nene or Hawaiian Goose which is the state bird of Hawaii, and the 'Io or Hawaiian Hawk.

Nene or Hawaiian Goose
The Nene or Hawaiian Goose is the state bird of Hawaii. It was critically endangered in 1951 when it was almost extinct, but captive breeding programs followed by released birds into the wild have given the numbers a huge boost up into the thousands. The Nene is now a regular sight in the correct habitats on many of the Hawaiian Islands, but it is still listed as endangered.

One of the largest threats to the Nene is are invasive mongoose introduced from Africa. The mongoose were introduced to control invasive rodent populations but have just made things worse because they eat the eggs and young of many native and endangered species like the Nene. Another problem is that Nene have virtually no fear of humans.


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image



Indian Peafowl
As early as 1860, the Indian Peafowl was brought to Hawaii from India. Today, local, wild (and countable) populations that are descendants of the original birds still exist locally on some of the main islands. They are such beautiful birds and it was great getting to see some that are allowed to be put on my life list!


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image




Erckel's Francolin
The Erckel's Francolin is native to Ethiopia and small areas of neighboring countries in Africa. It was first introduced to Hawaii in 1957, and is found on all main islands expect for Maui. In Ethiopia this bird is apparently hard to see and reasonably rare, but in the right areas in Hawaii, it is very common.


Image

Image

Image



Chukar
The Chukar is a bird I looked for but missed while on a birding trip in the Okanagan during the summer of 2012. It wasn't a real large target for the Hawaii trip, but I was still very happy to see one! This shot was taken through a van window, but it still isn't bad. The Chukar was introduced to Hawaii in 1923, and it is native to Asia and eastern Europe.


Image



Gray Francolin
I thought that these guys would be much easier to get than they were! I got looks on the first two days of the trip, but that was it! Still, this isn't a bad shot. The Gray Francolin was introduced to Hawaii from India in 1958.


Image



Black Francolin
The Black Francolin is a beautiful bird that is not an uncommon sight while driving through the middle of the island. The Black Francolin was introduced in 1959 from India. This one is also through a van window, but still not bad:


Image




Wild Turkey
Turkeys have always been a bird I have wanted to see in the wild, so it was fun seeing them in Hawaii. The Wild Turkey was one of the first birds ever introduced to Hawaii. It was introduced from North American in 1815. This one is also through a van window:


Image



Ring-necked Pheasant
Ring-necked Pheasants were already on my list (because I have gotten great looks at them here in BC) but it was still cool to see them in completely different environments in Hawaii. The Ring-necked Pheasant was introduced to Hawaii in 1865 and is native to Asia. Another shot through the van window:


Image



'Io or Hawaiian Hawk
The 'Io or Hawaiian Hawk is endemic to the Big Island (found nowhere else in the whole world) and is endangered.

I must have had 15 sightings of this bird on the trip, but very few photos! The 'Io would always fly by through the trees, high up in the clouds, far away, when I was exposed for the dark bushes, ect. These are the best shots I managed. Good shots or not, it is just such a cool bird!


Image

Image

Image



Thanks for looking! :)