Birds of Hawaii

Hawaii was the most isolated Achipelago in the world. Very few birds made it during prehuman times. Only one bird species every 1 million years made the journey. Those that did found niches where they could fill on these newly created islands. This resulted in amazing evolutionary adaptations that many believe would have allowed Darwin to figure out evolution even quicker than he did in the Galapagos if he had visited. The Honeycreepers of Hawaii in particular are an amazing species of bird most of which are endangered. They have suffered from avian malaria, something mainland species are immune to. In addition, introduced mammals and birds along with habitat destruction have turned these islands of evolution to islands of extinction. Some of the extinct birds are as spectacular as Papua New Guineas birds of Paradise but they soon became extinct once Polynesians arrived at the islands. It's a sad story. The big island is the best place to see the remaining native species since elevations above 4000 ft exist where mosquitos are less prevalent preventing the avian malaria problem. Here a few species of honeycreepers cling on to life some of which that exist in numbers below 2000. Hawaii Forest and Trail did an amazing job showing us many of these native birds. In addition, Oahu and the Big Island have many introduced and migratory species that are spectacular as well. They thrive here with the moderate climate and lack of predators.


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