Fall Hawaii: Oct 12—20, 2016

Register for WaitlistTour Details

Price: $4,295
(Internal flights included)
Departs: Honolulu
Ends: Hilo
Tour Limit: 12
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (110.5 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Bob Sundstrom

Bob Sundstrom has led VENT tours since 1989 to many destinations throughout North America, a...


Kevin Zimmer

Kevin Zimmer has authored three books and numerous papers dealing with field identification ...

More Information

Register for the Waiting List

This departure is sold out! Add your name to the waiting list, or inquire about this tour by calling our office (1-800-328-VENT or 512-328-5221), or emailing us (info@ventbird.com).


Apapane— Photo: Brian Gibbons

A fascinating exploration of three of the chain’s most distinctive main islands, featuring stunning seabirds, unique endemic forest birds, and volcanic marvels.

The most remote archipelago in the world, the Hawaiian Islands offer a unique and dramatic view of nature. Hawaii rivals the famed Galapagos as a living microcosm of evolution, as each main island harbors unique and varied bird and plant species. And for a spectacular firsthand view of the life of volcanoes—past and present—Hawaii has no equal.

Our hotels on Oahu and Kauai sit alongside the ocean, as does one of our two hotels on the Big Island. The tour concentrates on sites and native habitats off the beaten track, exploring the full range of unique and varied tropical forests as well as coastal regions of the islands, while enjoying Hawaii’s fine amenities and cuisine. VENT’s Hawaii tours truly leave the standard Hawaii tourist crowd well behind.

In traversing three islands—Oahu, Kauai, and Hawaii—we will encounter an amazing assortment of endemic plant and bird species. We will search out a large proportion of the native land birds (many are endangered), from the Hawaiian Hawk and Nene to Iiwi, Palila, Omao, Hawaii Akepa, three Elepaio and Amakihi species, the rare Akiapolaau, and others. We have arranged special entry into some of the best remaining tracts of native tropical forest in the islands, where we can enjoy these extraordinary birds at leisure.

Wonderful views of seabirds throughout the tour are a happy reminder that one is situated in the middle of the tropical Pacific. Sprite-like White Terns reside near our hotel on Oahu, gleaming White-tailed Tropicbirds fly effortlessly across Kauai’s splendid Waimea Canyon, and at Kilauea Point on Kauai, Red-footed Boobies and Great Frigatebirds glide overhead. A distinctive form of Black Noddy nests along the black lava cliffs on the Big Island.

The Spring and Fall Hawaii tours coincide with somewhat different seabird nesting schedules on the island of Kauai, so there are a few differences in which species are regularly seen. During the Fall tour, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters are visible, sitting at nest burrows at Kilauea Point. The dates of the Spring tour coincide with Laysan Albatross and Red-tailed Tropicbird nesting close at hand (the latter species is seen on most but not all Fall Hawaii tours).  The native land birds seen on the two tours are essentially the same, although the rare Akiapolaau is somewhat more likely on the Fall Hawaii tour.

Migrant shorebirds include an abundance of Pacific Golden-Plovers, as well as Wandering Tattlers, and an excellent chance to see the much sought after Bristle-thighed Curlew. We’ll find such endemic, endangered species as Koloa (Hawaiian Duck) and Hawaiian Coot, as well as the endemic forms of Common Gallinule and Black-necked Stilt at several wetland sanctuaries. A broad assortment of introduced bird species adds variety to the bird life on these remote tropical islands, and we will search for a good sample of these, although as a lower priority than the native species.

The equal of any birding wonders in the islands is the memorable experience of exploring the recent volcanic landscapes of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island (Hawaii). Although one can’t predict its likelihood for a given visit, some tours have had the great fortune of seeing an active lava flow in the park, an unforgettable vision in fiery orange.

Hawaii’s remote, tropical allure remains, and is redefined through these seasonal tours of the islands’ natural riches. The warm temperatures, comfortable lodging, and excellent cuisine only complement the islands’ singular wildlife and volcanic marvels.

Very good accommodations and cuisine; mostly easy walking with three moderately strenuous hikes; primarily warm conditions, some precipitation possible.