One thing that I quickly fell in love with in Hawaii (on Oahu, in particular) was the birds.  Of course, I had the wrong idea.  I thought there were going to be macaws, toucans and all sorts of exotic birds flying around on Oahu.  While that’s not quite the case, the birds here are exotic and magnificent.

I’ve long been a bird lover.  I used to raise and breed finches and my favorites are medium sized parrots like Quakers and Green Cheek conures.  I’m a bird guy so I automatically notice birds.  Sometimes I must look downright stupid stopped on the sidewalk and staring up into a tree.

So, this is the first article of many on this blog that will discuss Hawaiian Birds and which ones you can expect to see and what the hell they actually are.  I’m still working on trying to identify some of them myself.

First up:   Birds of Hawaii In my backyard

  • The Yellow-Billed Cardinal
  • The Java Finch
  • The Zebra Dove

yellow billed cardinalYellow-billed cardinals are a nice change from the northeastern cardinals that I’m used to in the Massachusetts area.  There were very rare to see.  Here, though.  The birds are friendly.  I actually had a Yellow-Billed eating out of my hand at Hanauma Bay!  That was pretty cool.

java finchThe Java Finch is one of my all-time favorites.  I started breeding zebra finches in 2008 and I always wanted to own a couple of Javas but the Massachusetts weather is rough and while the hardier Zebra can do well, the Java finch is a bit more fragile.  Plus, they’re more fun seeing them wild in your back yard and eating out of a feeder.

The Java Finch is prevalent in Hawaii but originally hail from Indonesia.  They are becoming endangered in Indonesia due to capture for the purpose of selling to pet stores.  They travel and roost in groups and can often be seen arguing and nipping at each other.

zebra doveZebra Doves are cute and friendly doves that have a ribbed or scalloped pattern to their breasts that makes it look striped.   They are native to Southeast Asia and came to Hawaii in 1922.  They are now competitive with pigeons as common park animals.


  1. What backyard birds will I get on the Marine Base, Kaneohe Bay? Moving there in March, but am an east coast birder originally, like you.
    Thanks for your article

    • Lisa…thanks for visiting and reading. In my backyard I get Java Sparrow, Cardinals, Zebra Dove and we even have a Jungle Fowl running around the neighborhood. You should expect a lot of the same.

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