Welcome to Birdquest

HAWAII

Hawaii Birding Tours: our Hawaii bird watching holiday explores these beautiful islands with their largely endangered endemic landbirds (including the Hawaiian Honeycreepers, sometimes considered a distinct family), their interesting seabirds and migrants such as the rare Bristle-thighed Curlew. Our Hawaii birding tour has the most comprehensive itinerary available in the islands and consistently produces a high proportion of the islands’ specialities.

Monday 15th April — Friday 26th April 2019
(12 days)


Leaders: János Oláh and local bird guides

Group Size Limit: 9

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable accommodations

Maui Creeper, a member of Hawaii's endemic bird family, the Hawaiian Honeycreepers, which make the archipelago a must-visit destination on the world birding circuit (Mike Watson)

Maui Creeper, a member of Hawaii's endemic bird family, the Hawaiian Honeycreepers, which make the archipelago a must-visit destination on the world birding circuit (Mike Watson)

Halfway across the Pacific Ocean, north of the equator, lies the Hawaiian archipelago, consisting of 122 islands and spreading 2400 kilometres across the Pacific from Kure Atoll and Midway in the northwest to Hawaii in the southeast. The term Hawaii usually refers to the eight main islands: Oahu, Hawaii proper (also known as Big Island), Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe and Niihau.

Captain Cook brought the islands to the attention of the rest of the world in 1778, but Polynesian explorers had settled these volcanic peaks long before him. In the mind of most Europeans, Hawaii stands for the white sandy beaches of Waikiki, beautiful hula-dancing, flower-covered girls, the battle of Pearl Harbor, breaching Humpback Whales, surfers riding immaculate waves and its melodic language, full of vowels and repeated syllables. Few people realize that the 50th State offers many unique natural phenomena, including the world’s most active volcano (Kilauea) and the world’s tallest mountain if measured from its bottom on the sea floor (Mauna Kea), as well as extraordinary volcanic mountain scenery, luxuriant forests, extensive lava flows and semi-deserts, remote beaches, cascading waterfalls, pounding surf and turquoise waters. Hawaii is a place of great contrasts: altitudes range from sea-level to 4205m and annual rainfall from more than 10m on Kauai to only a few centimetres on some of the leeward beaches of the Big Island!

For naturalists the main attraction of Hawaii lies in the extremely high percentage of endemism in the local fauna and flora (amounting to about 90%). Hawaii boasts an endemic bird subfamily: the Hawaiian Honeycreepers or Drepanidinae (sometimes treated as a full family, Drepanididae), the finest known example of the process called adaptive radiation, wherein a varied array of species evolved from a single ancestor. The Hawaiian Honeycreepers range from tiny, drab-coloured, nectar-feeding, warbler-like birds to large, brightly-coloured, thick-billed seedeaters; others creep along trunks and feed with peculiar decurved bills or pick at the bark.

Since man settled in the islands the honeycreepers and other native birds have fought a losing battle (starting with the extinction of a number of flightless birds soon after the Polynesians first settled), as most of the lowland forests were destroyed and introduced alien plants and animals proved to be serious pests. Worst of all was the unfortunate introduction of mosquitoes in 1826, as they provided a vector for avian malaria. The endemic species were unable to cope and many species have become extinct. The 21 endemic species that have so far survived this catastrophe are mainly found above 1300m elevation, where mosquitoes are less numerous, but even so most of the honeycreepers are endangered (some critically).

During our tour of Hawaii we will make a special effort to try to see as many of the surviving endemic species and other Hawaiian specialities as possible. Time is running out for Hawaii’s birds, so time is of the essence if you wish to see these vanishing species.

Our birding will begin on the island of Oahu, the third largest island of the chain and the most populated one, with bustling Honolulu as its capital. Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Stilt, Bristle-thighed Curlew, White Tern, Oahu Elepaio and Oahu Amakihi are the main attractions here.

From Oahu we will travel to Kauai, the ‘Garden Isle’. Kauai has a central mountain range which receives more than 10m of rainfall a year, making it one of the wettest places on earth! Here we will concentrate on the forested mountains of the interior, which are the perfect habitat for a series of endemics including Kauai Elepaio, Puaiohi, Anianiau, Akekee (or Kauai Akepa), Kauai Amakihi and the rapidly declining Akikiki (or Kauai Creeper), while wetland areas hold Hawaiian Geese (Nenes) and Hawaiian Ducks. Along the coast we can expect Laysan Albatross and White-tailed and Red-tailed Tropicbirds, while a pelagic trip may well turn up Newell’s Shearwater and Hawaiian Petrel.

Maui will be our next port of call. This is the second largest island and is formed by two mountains connected by a low isthmus. The crater of the world’s largest dormant volcano is a nesting site for the Hawaiian Petrel, while lower down the woodlands are home to the gorgeous Iiwi, Apapane, Hawaii Amakihi, the endemic Alauahio (or Maui Creeper), and even the rare endemic Akohekohe and Maui Parrotbill.

Finally we will explore Hawaii, which is also called ‘Big Island’. This is the youngest of the islands, with several very active volcanoes producing impressive lava flows, while exciting endemics like Hawaiian Hawk, Omao, Palila, Hawaii Amakihi, Akiapolaau, Hawaii Creeper and Akepa reside in the remaining forests.

Birdquest has operated tours to Hawaii since 1998.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/motels are comfortable and of good or medium standard. Road transport is by minibus, car or 4x4 vehicle. Roads are mostly good.

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there are two optional harder walks, one moderate on Maui and one fairly demanding hike on Kauai. The latter, for the more endangered species, requires good balance and involves a slippery trail, and some crossing of fallen trees and streams.

Climate: Rather variable. It is typically warm or hot at lower altitudes, but at high altitudes we can expect cool weather. Some rain is highly likely.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.

Prices are provisional

Tour Price: £4190, €4770, $5490 Honolulu/Honolulu. Single Room Supplement: £693, €790, $908. Deposit: £500, €600, $650.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Also includes these flights: Honolulu (Oahu)-Lihue (Kauai), Lihue-Maui, Maui-Hilo (Hawaii/Big Island), Hilo-Honolulu.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.150.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

The Halema'uma'u crater pumping out sulphur and silicon dioxide gases at a rate of 2000 tons per day (Mike Watson)

The Halema'uma'u crater pumping out sulphur and silicon dioxide gases at a rate of 2000 tons per day (Mike Watson)

99 photos View Gallery Photos From HAWAII
One of the most spectacular surviving Hawaiian Honeycreepers is the Iiwi (János Oláh) and other members of this incredibly diverse family include

One of the most spectacular surviving Hawaiian Honeycreepers is the Iiwi (János Oláh) and other members of this incredibly diverse family include

... the bizarre Akikiki (János Oláh)

... the bizarre Akikiki (János Oláh)

...and the Akiapolaau, with the most unfeasible bill of them all (Mike Watson)

...and the Akiapolaau, with the most unfeasible bill of them all (Mike Watson)

The gorgeous Palila is critically endangered, in desperate trouble and may be the next of its beleaguered family to go extinct - go and see it while you can! (Mike Watson)

The gorgeous Palila is critically endangered, in desperate trouble and may be the next of its beleaguered family to go extinct - go and see it while you can! (Mike Watson)

The spectacular but also critically endangered Akohekohe is probably the most-wanted honeycreeper (Mike Watson)

The spectacular but also critically endangered Akohekohe is probably the most-wanted honeycreeper (Mike Watson)

The stately Laysan Albatross is one of an impressive array of seabirds on this tour (Mike Watson)

The stately Laysan Albatross is one of an impressive array of seabirds on this tour (Mike Watson)

Hawaiian Hawk is the only surviving endemic raptor in the islands (Mike Watson)

Hawaiian Hawk is the only surviving endemic raptor in the islands (Mike Watson)

Hawaii is a great place to catch up with the enigmatic Bristle-thighed Curlew (Mike Watson)

Hawaii is a great place to catch up with the enigmatic Bristle-thighed Curlew (Mike Watson)

Pacific Golden Plovers in smart breeding dress are getting ready to leave their Hawaiian wintering grounds by late April (Mike Watson)

Pacific Golden Plovers in smart breeding dress are getting ready to leave their Hawaiian wintering grounds by late April (Mike Watson)

The endemic Puaiohi, actually a solitaire, is a beautiful songster (János Oláh)

The endemic Puaiohi, actually a solitaire, is a beautiful songster (János Oláh)

We are also likely to see some spectacular Humpback Whales during our adventure (János Oláh)

We are also likely to see some spectacular Humpback Whales during our adventure (János Oláh)

The spectacular Silversword is a sunflower relative endemic to Haleakala on Maui (Mike Watson)

The spectacular Silversword is a sunflower relative endemic to Haleakala on Maui (Mike Watson)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

top of page

Website crafted by the Accent Design Group.

Valid CSS| Level A compliant on bobby| 508 compliant on bobby| Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional|