Hawaii is the most remote archipelago on Earth, located north of the equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Aside from the Islands’ world-renowned beauty, many unique features attract naturalists here, chiefly the high degree of endemism among the various life forms, active volcanism, verdant and varied native forests, and the surrounding great wilderness of the Pacific Ocean. The island chain’s Hawaiian Honeycreepers have long attracted birders – and understandably so. The diverse forms evolved from a single ancestor akin to a North American finch, into nectarivores, bark-pickers, insect gleaners, or borers of many brilliant colours. These honeycreepers and native birds of other families have unfortunately been decimated, beginning with the arrival of the Polynesians and continuing with the introduction of mosquitoes and a multitude of alien plant and animal species. Many bird species have consequently gone extinct, and the remaining survivors face a precarious future.
Our tour covers three of the major islands searching for some of the most endangered birds on the planet, while also featuring fantastic scenery and phenomenal underwater life. Some of the top birds of the tour include the bizarre Akiapolaau, endangered Bristle-thighed Curlew, tricky Hawaiian Petrel, elegant White (Fairy) Tern and the charismatic Iiwi amongst other endemic targets such as Oahu Elepaio, Hawaii Creeper, Anianiau and Hawaii Akepa. Join us as we focus on these surviving endemic forest species, seabirds, and other Hawaiian avian specialities, along with the riches of this fabulous chain of picturesque tropical islands!
Hawaiian Hawk; Nene (Hawaiian Goose); Iiwi; Akiapolaau; Hawaii Akepa; Oahu Amakihi; Kauai Amakihi; Hawaii Amakihi; Hawaii Creeper; Akikiki (Kauai Creeper); Kauai Elepaio; Puaiohi; (Small Kauai Thrush); Omao (Hawaiian Thrush), Anianiau; Akekee (Kauai Akepa); Apapane; Hawaiian Petrel; White (Fairy) Tern; Bristle-thighed Curlew. Top Mammals
Hawaii Monk Seal, Humpback Whale Habitats Covered
mountains, active volcanoes, highland forests, dry forests, coastline Expected Climate
mild to hot and humid, rain expected Max Group Size
<6 with 1 local Leader, 7 - 10 with 1 Rockjumper leader & 1 local leader Tour Pace & Walking
comfortable Ease of Birding
moderate with a few tough species Other Attractions
active volcanoes, stunning scenery, world-famous beaches, great food, friendly Hawaiian people Photographic Opportunities
Stephan Lorenz was fabulous - excellent in all respects. He's very knowledgeable and professional at his job, an excellent companion, superb birder and guide, attentive, helpful and he always made sure each client got the bird(s). His ability to spot and identify shy species in difficult conditions was amazing.
Mandy's guiding abilities whether finding birds or restaurants was extremely refined. Mandy announced that our goal was to see the endemic species of Hawaii, and then not surprisingly, she ensured that we met that goal.
OMGosh, it felt so good to be traveling again. I am so grateful for RJ’s flexibility in seeing this trip through after it was postponed in 2020. The group was special—all but Teri Martine were members of the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society of Athens, GA., and needless to say, we got along famously. Teri, Forrest and Mandy got used to us quickly and blended in to our quirky, non-stop jokes and laughter. Forrest Rowland was an excellent guide, full of positive energy and very enthusiastic about seeing the birds. (He even ID'ed a bird recording I’d saved on my phone and thus I added another Yellowstone Life bird to my trip!!) And I throughly enjoyed getting to know Mandy Talpas on this tour. She is a very capable, engaging, organized and skilled co-leader. The food and hotels vastly exceeded my expectations. Mandy’s van on Oahu, aka “Big Red” was one of the best vehicles I have toured in. Mandy’s “meals in the fields” were delicious, fresh and extravagant. It was a special delight to have the option of a cold brew to watch the late afternoon sea bird show at the famous Kilauea Point NWR. Also, she shared with us her passionate and amazing conservation work on the islands, and we met several other local birder friends of hers who also graciously contributed to our knowledge and bird sightings. It was clear that she had personal connections with many of the hotel and restaurant owners, with whom she had conveyed her high expectations of service and response.
This was my first Rockjumper tour and I felt it was first rate from start to finish. Stephan Lorenz was superb. Not only a great birder but he is thoughtful and has great “people skills”.
Mandy, our leader was excellent with the complicated logistics, knowing the locations for the birds, making sure the birds were seen and was very good at making the trip very enjoyable.