Birding Kauai: The Introduced Birds


WC described some of the introduced songbirds that are found on O’ahu. Most of those species are found on Kauai now as well. But WC found a few additional species, some of them unique to Kauai and some that WC just missed on O’ahu. And where WC got better photos of an introduced species on Kauai, those are included, too.

"Jungle Fowl," a/k/a Feral Chicken, Kauai

“Jungle Fowl,” a/k/a Feral Chicken, Kauai

Any list of introduced wild birds in Kauai would be seriously inaccurate if it didn’t include feral chickens. You hear various stories: they were brought by the Polynesians for food; that they were introduced as a kind of practical joke; that they escaped from chicken coops in the chaos of Hurricane Iniki back in 1992. Whatever the reason, they are everywhere. The rooster morning chorus runs from about 3:30 AM to 10:00 AM, with solos the rest of the day.

House Sparrow, Kauai

House Sparrow, Kauai

An introduced species from an introduced species. This Old World sparrow was introduced into North America. From that population, it was introduced in Hawai’i. After the rat, it might be the species the has best adapted to living with humans. As evidenced by this bird, getting a drink of water from a water fountain.

A scrum of Zebra Doves, Koke'e State Park, Kauai

A scrum of Zebra Doves, Koke’e State Park, Kauai

A species native to Southeast Asia, it as popular as a cage bird among Asan immigrants to the Islands. It escaped. It is fecund. Its population on Kauai rivals the House Sparrow.

White-rumped Shama, Kauai

White-rumped Shama, Kauai

A native of the Indian subcontinent, the species was introduced to Kauai, Hawaii, in early 1931 by Alexander Isenberger. They are also a popular cage bird, for their melodious song.

Melodious Laughingthrush, Kauai

Melodious Laughingthrush, Kauai

The Melodious Laughingthrush – a pretty cool name – is also called the Chinese Hwamei. It’s another introduced species from east Asia.

Northern Cardinal, Kauai

Northern Cardinal, Kauai

Someone thought it would be nice to introduce North America’s Northern Cardinal to Kauai. Now it’s everywhere. This bird was photographed fifteen feet from tidewater. WC has seen it in the forests 4,000 feet up in Koke’e Park, too.

Japanese Whiteye, Kauai

Japanese Whiteye, Kauai

WC included this in the report on introduced species on O’ahu, but this bird in on a pretty cool perch, and is a handsome little devil. It’s another species that is found in large flocks from tidewater to the tops of the mountains on Kauai.

Northern Mockingbird, Kauai

Northern Mockingbird, Kauai

It’s hard to understand why anyone thought introducing the mockingbird to Hawai’i was a good idea. But it was apparently introduced in the 1920s. It’s another species that can be found across the entire island.

Again, this is just a partial list of the introduced species on Kauai, some of the ones WC was able to photograph. These species are one of the reasons the native avifauna are such a train wreck.

 

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