Observing Manu (birds)
During the winter, it is common to observe Kolea (Pacific Golden Plover), ‘Akekeke (Ruddy Turnstone) and ‘Ulili (Wandering Tattler) foraging along the rocky shoreline. The Hawaiian names for ‘Akekeke and the ‘Ulili are similar to their individual calls and are thus indicative of their presence in Hawai‘i for many years.
A watchful eye and an awakened ear will lead you to discover some of the other feathered visitors observed at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau . Most of these will be non-native birds which continue to pose a threat to the habitat and food supply for the native Hawaiian birds that have spent thousands of years evolving on this island.
Upon your arrival at the park, you might watch several Saffron Finch nibbling on the tall grass seeds of the Pili (Tanglehead Grass) or hear the Common Myna birds calling from within the Noni (Indian Mulberry trees). As the moon's light takes over for the sun, listen for the screech of the barn owl.
Endemic and Endangered
Six native species have been observed in the park, half of these are endemic (found only in Hawai'i), the 'Io, Pueo and Ae'o and two others are endangered.
The 'Io (Hawaiian Hawk) is endangered and it is the only resident raptor found in Hawai'i. You are most likely to see it soaring against the blue sky, with its keen eyes searching the earth far beneath its wings, for another meal.
The Pueo (Short-eared Owl) is usually silent except for a series of low hoots heard during courtship and an occasional muffled bark. It is crepuscular in its hunt. The Pueo was revered as an aumakua (guardian spirit) by the ancient Hawaiians
The Ae'o (Hawaiian Stilt), a tall slender wading bird is also endangered. Sightings of Ae'o at Pu'uhōnua are extremely rare. The distinguished black and white body of the Ae'o is supported by pink, long, thin legs. The Ae'o is a ground nesting bird so it is highly vulnerable to predation by mongoose, cats, dogs and even human disturbance.
Bird Species Observed in the Park
NATIVE HAWAIIAN BIRDS
Migratory Wetland and Marine Birds
NON-NATIVE, MIGRATORY URBAN BIRDS
Did You Know?
In 1778 Captain Cook visited the Kealakekua bay area and perished in a struggle with the native people over a stolen row boat.