Birds of all types can be seen all over the Hawaiian Islands. The birds that are the most common are the introduced urban birds. In the cities and lowlands, I found that the introduced birds made up higher than 95% of all the birds that I saw.

Over 150 species of birds have been introduced to the Hawaiian Islands. Many of the introduced birds in Hawaii were released purposefully, but many escaped accidentally. Many of the introduced birds are harmful to native plant and animal species. Problems that some of the introduced species have caused include hybridization and competition with native birds, transmission of diseases, and more.

Below are photos of introduced urban bird species that I photographed on my trip to the Big Island of Hawaii in the last two weeks of December 2013:


Yellow-billed Cardinal
In the Hawaiian Islands, the Yellow-billed Cardinal is only found on the Big Island. On most other Islands, this species is replaced by Red-crested Cardinals. The Yellow-billed Cardinal is native to South America. It was first recorded in hawaii in 1973, and now is extremely common throughout the lowlands of the Big Island. These photos were taken around Kailua-Kona.

Image

Image

Image



African Silverbill
The African Silverbill is relatively common in many areas in the Hawaiian Islands, particularly on Maui and the Big Island. It was first recorded in the early 1970s, but its exact introduction date is unknown. As the name states, that African Silverbill is native to Africa.

Image



Java Sparrow
The Java Sparrow is locally common on many different areas of most main islands. It is native to southeastern Asia, and was first introduced to Hawaii in 1987 and again in the 1960s.

Image



House Sparrow
The House Sparrow is one of the most common birds across the whole world. It has been introduced onto every single continent except for Antarctica. It is also one of the most common birds in the urban areas of the Hawaiian Islands. It is native to Eurasia and was first brought from New Zealand and released on O'ahu in 1871.

Image

House Sparrow bathing, with a Java Sparrow behind.
Image



Rock Pigeon
Like the House Sparrow, the Rock Pigeon is one of the most common birds in the whole world and due to introduction is found on every single continent except for Antarctica. I found that they were relatively scarce in Hawaii, so this was the best photo I got. It was taken at Mauna Kea State Park.

Image




Red-masked Parakeet
The numbers of parrots across the Hawaiian Islands has been increasing for a long time. Many species have escaped, and they are becoming more and more common in many areas. Parrots are not good for the native habitats and pose a serious threat to native plants and native birds (as a disease reservoir). Red-masked Parakeets were a common sight in Kailua-Kona and would fly around everyday in flocks ranging from less than 10 to more than 40 birds.

Image



Burrowing Parakeet
The Burrowing Parakeet is an example of a parrot species that is just establishing itself in Hawaii in the past few years. I saw a flock just south of Sheraton Resort and Spa on Keauhou Bay, and when I checked for sightings on eBird, the only other reports of Burrowing Parakeets in Hawaii were three others from the exact same area.

I didn't get any good shots from a portrait shot perspective, but because I saw them at sunset the lighting made for a cool wider shot of them flying by in the sunset light. The rocks in the front of the photo are volcanic rocks that lined that area of the shore.

Image



Nutmeg Mannikin
I saw a couple groups of Nutmeg Mannikin on my trip. One was a group of just a few birds, and the other was a group of around 100 birds. The Nutmeg Mannikin was introduced from Southeast Asia to Hawaii in about 1865.

Image



Common Myna
The Common Myna is a extremely common bird in Hawaii which was introduced in 1865 from India to control insect pests. They call all over the place from dawn to dusk, especially around the cities, but they are common in rural areas as well.

Image



Zebra Dove
Another extremely common bird in Hawaii is the Zebra Dove. These little doves were introduced in 1922 and are native to Asia.

Image

Image

Image



Lavender Waxbill
The Lavender Waxbill is native to Africa but introduced populations are well established in Hawaii. They were reasonably common near Kailua-Kona, and were fun to watch as they came by, almost always in flocks.

Image



House Finch
Conveniently for me, most of the birds introduced to Hawaii are from South America, Africa, and Asia (so lots of lifers!). There are a few species however that are introduced from North America including the House Finch which was introduced to Hawaii from California before 1870. They are now very common on the islands.

Image

Image



Northern Mockingbird
The Northern Mockingbird is established on all main islands, but is still uncommon. You most often just hear them singing, usually not in the main cities. The Northern Mockingbird was introduced from North America to O'ahu in 1928.

Image



Spotted Dove
The Spotted Dove is common on all main islands, especially around the cities and lowland areas. It was introduced to Hawaii from Asia in the mid 1800s.

Image



Common Waxbill
The Common Waxbill is native to Africa, and was first identified in the Hawaiian Islands in the late 1970s. It is a tiny bird that travels around in flocks. I found that around Kailua-Kona the birds were shy and that on top of the fact of them being small made them hard to photograph, even though they were relatively common:

Image



Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal is common on all main islands. It is found in areas around cities at sea level, but also in exotic non-native forests and even in native forest at high elevations. It was introduced from the eastern US to Hawaii in 1929.

Image



Yellow-fronted Canary
The Yellow-fronted Canary is common in many areas of Hawaii. I usually saw them in flocks, and sometimes those flocks had around 80 birds. The Yellow-fronted Canary was introduced to Hawaii in the late 1960s and is native to Africa.

Image



Saffron Finch
The Saffron Finch is actually not a finch, but a tanager native to South America. It is a beautiful bright yellow, and is very common around Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Males are slightly brighter than females and have more of an orangey wash around on the face. The Saffron Finch was introduced to Hawaii in the late 1960s.

Image

Image

Image

Image



That sums up the trip report! I hope you enjoyed. It was a fantastic trip! On the trip I saw 56 bird species, 26 of which were lifers. My favorite birds were the native forest birds which are found nowhere else on the planet.

Thanks for looking! :)