Greg Miller Big Year Series

HAWAII: Birding the Island Endemics



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2023 :: September 28 - October 7



From: $6,450 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Honolulu, HI (HNL)


5 - 10 Participants


SEPT 2023: 6 spaces available



This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of HAWAII: Birding the Island Endemics

  • Beautiful forests and beaches
  • Many endemic species
  • Pelagic seabirding trip!

Description of HAWAII: Birding the Island Endemics

Best known for Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii hosts a large variety of endemic birds. On this fun, exploratory adventure we will visit three main Islands: Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii. Hawaii’s degree of endemism in birds is best witnessed through the colorful Hawaiian Honeycreepers—the brilliant jewels of the native forests. Some 20 of these species of honeycreepers still remain—most are highly endangered. Each island is home to a unique group of honeycreepers as well as other native forest bird species, and we will focus on these throughout the Islands. Smoking volcanos, thundering waterfalls, lush forests, deep canyons and the beautiful Pacific Ocean round out an incredible trip!

Length of Tour


Day 1 Arrival in Honolulu/Transfer to hotel

Upon arrival in Honolulu (HNL), transfer to the Queen Kopiolani Hotel in Waikiki, where we have already reserved a room in your name. We will gather in the lobby at 6pm to meet new friends before our welcome dinner together.

Day 2 Oahu Forest Endemics and More

This morning we start our day early in Kapiolani Park, next to our hotel, to admire visiting Pacific Golden Plovers and Honolulu’s city bird, the beautiful White Tern. While exploring the park we are sure to encounter a myriad of introduced species among the banyan and rainbow shower trees, such as Common Myna, Red-crested Cardinal, Red-vented Bulbul, Yellow-fronted Canary, Java Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Spotted Dove, Zebra Dove, and Rose-ringed Parakeet.

Next we will leave the city behind and enter the rainforests of the Koolau Mountains in pursuit of Oahu’s endemic honeycreeper, the Oahu Amakihi, before we transcend down into the valleys to search for the endangered Oahu Elepaio. While on our endemic bird adventure we will most likely encounter Whtie-rumped Shama, a thrush from Asia, noisy flocks of Red-billed Leiothrix, an occasional Red-whiskered Bulbul, and chattering Japanese White-eyes.

Day 3 Oahu North Coast Endemics and More
Today we journey up the picturesque windward side to experience the serenity of Oahu’s North Shore in search of visiting shorebirds, such as the Wandering Tattler and sought-after Bristle-thighed Curlew.

While cruising the coastline, famous for world class surf beaches and secluded coves with basking sea turtles, we are sure to find some flashy finches, such as the Saffron Finch and Chestnut Munia. The North Shore is also home to some of the last family farms on Oahu with crops of coffee, cacao, eggplant, papaya, pineapple, apple banana, and even scattered shrimp farms with Black-crowned Night Heron, the endemic Hawaiian Coot, Common Gallinule (endemic subspecies), and Black-necked Stilt (endemic subspecies).

Day 4 Fly to Kauai/Lighthouse and seabirds

After breakfast we fly to Lihue and discover the beauty of Kauai’s North Shore in pursuit of impressive seabirds along Kilauea Lighthouse NWR’s stunning coastline and more endemic water birds amongst Hanalei NWR’s historic lo’i ponds. While scanning the rugged cliffs of Kilauea covered with Red-footed Boobies and surveying the skies for Brown Booby, spectacular Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds, majestic Laysan Albatross, and soaring Great Frigatebirds, we will enjoy up close views of Hawaii’s state bird, the Nene (Hawaiian Goose).

We will then explore Hanalei valley’s lush important bird area for more of Hawaii’s endangered water birds: Hawaiian Duck, Hawaiian Coot, Black-necked Stilt (endemic subspecies), and Hawaiian Gallinule (endemic subspecies).

Day 5 Kauai Forest Endemics and more

We embark on a rainforest adventure with astounding views of Waimea Canyon, the Pacific’s Grand Canyon, on our journey into Kokee State Park to find Kauai’s endemic Kauai Amakihi, Apapane, Anianiau, and Kauai Elepaio with hopes of a glimpse of the rare Akekee and the iconic I’iwi.

Other forest birds we should encounter in Kokee State Park include Red Junglefowl, the skulky Japanese Bush Warbler and melodious Hwamei.

Day 6 Fly to KONA on the Big Island

On our last morning on Kauai we will search for the rare Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush and any of Kauai’s specialty species we haven’t already found before our afternoon flight to Kona.

Day 7 Big Island Dry Forest Endemics

Experience Hakalau aka Hawaii’s honeycreeper heaven! Hakalau Forest NWR is a publicly restricted cloud forest reserve and is home to many of Hawaii’s endangered plants, native arthropods, and endemic birds.

We will search for the unique Hawaii Creeper, the gorgeous day glow orange Akepa, the stunning long billed Akiapolaau, the Hawaiian Hawk, Omao (Hawaii island’s endemic thrush) with beautiful I’iwi, Hawaii Amakihi, and Apapane all over the blossoms of ancient ohia trees enshrouding us.

Day 8 Big Island Cloud Forest Endemics

We begin our day on a quest for Hawaii Elepaio and the endangered Palila, the last of the finch-like honeycreepers. On our way to the sub-alpine dry forests of mamanae, sandalwood, and naio we will bird Saddle Road for Short-eared Owl (endemic subspecies), Eurasian Skylark, Chukar, California Quail, Wild Turkey, Erckel’s, Black, and Gray francolins and more.

From the high elevations of Pu`u La`au along the slopes of Mauna Kea, we will drive to Waikoloa in search of more introduced species, like Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse and African Silverbill, on our way back to Kona.

Day 9 Big Island Pelagic

Today we embark on a pelagic birding charter out of Honokohau Harbor with an experienced local captain for Black Noddy, Brown Noddy, Sooty Tern, Brown Booby, White-tailed Tropicbird, Great Frigatebird, Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, and Bulwer’s Petrel with hopes of finding: Masked Booby, Hawaiian Petrel, Black-winged Petrel, Mottled Petrel, Juan Fernandez Petrel, White-necked Petrel, Newell’s Shearwater, Christmas Shearwater, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Long-tailed Jaegar, South Polar Skua, incidental cetacean sightings, and more!

Days 10 Return Home

Today you may depart at anytime from Kona… or stay in the islands for a bit longer and enjoy yourself!


Cost is $6,450 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Honolulu, HI (Airport code HNL).
This trip ends in Kona, HI (Airport code KOA).

Included in Tour Cost

All meals, all ground transportation, inter-island flights (2 total), entrance fees, permits, services of two leaders.

Not Included in Tour Cost

International or mainland to Hawaii flights, airport taxes, luggage fees, trip insurance, alcoholic beverages, phone calls, laundry, or other items of a personal nature or not specifically mentioned in itinerary.

Single Supplement

If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $1,100 will be assessed.

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

This trip includes high quality hotels.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Many of the trails will be muddy and slippery. Hawaii is a mountainous state and some of the trails will be difficult.

Hawaii-New Zealand field guide


Birds of Hawaii, New Zealand, and the Central and West Pacific
by Ber van Perlo

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to help cover your investment, for covered reasons. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map