The songbirds that colonized Hawai’i millions of years ago found an isolated tropical paradise. Over time, they evolved into dozens of unique species perfectly adapted to these isolated tropical islands, just as happened in the Galapagos. An article in Smithsonian magazine offers a glimpse of what this magnificent avifauna likely looked like pre-human contact. At one point, 16 forest bird species occurred on Kaua’i. Now, due to various factors, only eight forest bird species remain, six of which (marked with *) live only on Kaua’i: ‘Akeke’e*, ‘Akikiki*, ‘Anianiau*, ‘Apapane, ‘I’iwi, Kaua’i ‘Amakihi*, Kaua’i ‘Elepaio*, and Puaihoi*.
These priceless gems in flight can be found in the mountain rainforests, and most can be found along the trails of Koke’e by very sharp-eyed observers (see our Birding Map).