Rainforest & Dryforest Bird Watching Tour
Get a One-of-a-Kind Experience with Hawaii's Incredible Nature
Departing from Kona, Hawaii. Nature lovers and birdwatchers delight in exploring two exceptional habitats revealing the evolutionary epic of Hawaiian biology and observing native flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth.
Rainforest -The Big Island of Hawai’i is a hotspot for biodiversity with one of the largest populations of native flora and fauna on the planet! Nature lovers and birdwatchers can revel at the opportunity to view endemic bird populations in the unique habitats of the Hawaiian rainforest and dry forest. Departing from Kona, travel to the misty cloud forests located on Mauna Loa’s northeastern flank and over the lava flows of the Pu’u O’o Trail (about 4 miles). Listen for the songs of elusive forest birds like the i’iwi, apapane, and endangered akiapolaau as you pass by. The sub-alpine dry forest on Mauna Kea is the next stop, where you will search for the critically-threatened palila, Hawaiian amakihi, and Hawaiian elepaio amongst the mamane trees. This trail is easy and is less than one mile. This exciting eco-tour includes a fresh island breakfast, deli-style lunch, transportation, walking gear, binoculars, and expert guidance on the birds and natural environment of Hawai’i’s Big Island.
Rainforest - Our destination is the Puu Oo Trail, a historic cattle drive route, located at the 6,000 foot level of Saddle Road on Mauna Loa’s northeastern flank. This is the windward side of the island, and is often cloaked in misty clouds. It is enchanting to be serenaded by the forest birds as we make our way over three to four miles of sometimes rough lava trail, crossing over the 1855 and 1881 lava flows.
Dryforest - At the Humuula hunter check-in station just off Saddle Road, we go into the Kaohe Game Management Area and four-wheel it to nearly 7,500 feet on the western side of Mauna Kea to an area known as Puu Laau. The area is mostly park-like and typically commands stunning views of the leeward coast below.
The variety of birds in the Hawaiian islands is legendary. While you are hiking through the forest, you will see a number of our local birds including Amakihi, Apapane, Elepaio, Akepa, Akiapolaau, and Iiwi. These beauties come in a range of colors – especially bright red and yellow. Prior to the arrival of humans, the islands supported an incredibly diverse and unique avifauna comprised of at least 113 endemic species. Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors including habitat destruction, 71 species have been confirmed lost. This trek is a wonderful opportunity to search for some of our endangered birds including Palila and Akiapola’au. The interpretive guides are expert bird trackers, so you’ll have a great time on this “treasure hunt” for the jewels of the forest.