Discover the Best Places to See Sea Birds in Hawaii

When it comes to experiencing the natural beauty of Hawaii, many visitors flock to its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and majestic waterfalls. However, one area that often goes overlooked is the abundance of sea birds that adorn the islands. With over 20 different species of sea birds found around Hawaii, there are plenty of opportunities to witness them glide through the air and dive into the ocean. Here are the best places to see sea birds in Hawaii.


Kaena Point State Park

Kaena Point is located at the westernmost end of Oahu, and is one of the few places on the island accessible by foot only. It consists of over 800 acres of protected land, including a prominent seabird sanctuary. Visitors can take a guided hike and spot a variety of sea birds such as Laysan albatrosses, wedge-tailed shearwaters, and brown boobies.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

While Hanauma Bay is famous for its crystal-clear waters and colourful coral reefs, it is also a popular spot for bird enthusiasts. Along its rocky cliffs, visitors can catch a glimpse of Hawaiian petrels, white-tailed tropic birds, and red-tailed tropic birds.


Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge

Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge is situated on the northernmost point of Kauai, and is home to the largest colony of breeding seabirds in Hawaii. The refuge is open to visitors year-round and offers guided tours that provide a closer look at the wildlife. Here, visitors can observe the magnificent frigate bird, laysan albatross, and the endangered Newell’s shearwater.

Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park

The Na Pali Coast is known for its stunning ocean vistas and towering sea cliffs but it is also a birdwatcher’s paradise. Visitors can spot wedge-tailed and Newell’s shearwaters flying along the coast. The sheer cliffs of the park also provide nesting sites for the red-footed booby and brown boobies.


Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Kealia Pond is a freshwater pond and coastal wetland that attracts a diverse range of wildlife. It is also home to the endangered Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian stilt, as well as a variety of seabirds such as the Pacific golden-plover and ruddy turnstone. Visitors can take a guided tour or watch the birds from observation decks.

Molokini Crater

Molokini Crater is a popular snorkelling and diving spot, but it is also a prime location to see sea birds. The crater is home to brown boobies, white-tailed tropic birds, and wedge-tailed shearwaters. Due to its isolated location, it provides a unique opportunity to observe these birds in their natural habitat.

Big Island

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses a vast area of diverse landscapes including rainforests, lava fields, and rugged coastlines. Here, visitors can witness multiple seabirds in their natural habitat such as red-tailed tropic birds, white-tailed tropic birds and Newell’s shearwater. The park offers guided hikes and ranger talks that explore the ecosystem and wildlife found within the park.

Puako Petroglyph Preserve

The Puako Petroglyph Preserve protects over 1,200 ancient petroglyphs etched into lava rock. While exploring the preserve, visitors can also spot wedge-tailed shearwaters nesting along the rocky coast. During the winter months, humpback whales can also be seen breaching off the shore.


Hawaii offers an abundance of natural beauty, and its sea birds should not be overlooked. From the towering cliffs of the Na Pali Coast to the crystal-clear waters of Molokini Crater, there are plenty of opportunities to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitats. Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or just looking to add something unique to your Hawaiian vacation, visiting these best places to see sea birds in Hawaii should be on your to-do list.

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