4 Species of Parrots Found in Hawaii

The beautiful Hawaiian islands, which are nestled in the center of the Pacific Ocean, are well known for their stunning scenery, immaculate beaches, and thriving marine life. However, Hawaii’s natural treasures go beyond the coastline and into the rich world of feathered occupants, which includes the parrots in Hawaii.

This article explores the fascinating presence of parrots in the Hawaiian islands. Although not indigenous to these islands, these lively and colorful birds have made a home there, resulting in a unique combination of native and introduced species.

4 Parrots in Hawaii

Hawaii has a variety of parrots and parakeets that were all introduced to the islands. These include the Rose-ringed Parakeet, Red-masked Parakeet, Red-Crowned Parrot, and Mitred Conure. It’s important to know that humans have brought all parrot species to Hawaii, and no parrots are native to the islands.

1. Rose-ringed Parakeet

Rose-ringed parakeet perched on a tree
Rose-ringed parakeet perched on a tree | image by Hari K Patibanda via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Psittacula krameri

Hawaii’s lush islands host a diverse range of unique wildlife, and among them are the rose-ringed parakeets, a group of birds known for their colorful feathers and lively personalities. Rose-ringed parakeets have vibrant green feathers, and a long tail feather that makes them visually striking, with male and female birds having bright orange beaks.

However, only males have a unique neck ring that’s red and black. You can easily recognize them by their loud squawking calls as they fly across the Hawaiian skies.

These medium-sized parakeets were brought to Hawaii as pets in the 1960s and have since established themselves on the islands. But a wild population emerged and thrived due to accidental releases and escapees.

The first accidentally released animal was discovered in Kauai in 1968, and more animals joined the expanding wild population after Hurricane Iwa. These parakeets have spread across the main islands of Hawaii and found suitable habitats and abundant food sources.

Rose-ringed parakeets are beautiful, but they cause significant challenges to Hawaii’s agricultural sector. They primarily consume fruits and grains because they’re herbivores, thus damaging priceless food crops all throughout the state.

2. Red-masked Parakeet

Red-masked parakeets on a tree branch
Red-masked parakeets on a tree branch

Scientific Name: Psittacara erythrogenys

The red-masked parakeet’s colorful appearance in Hawaii’s stunning settings has drawn interest and raised concerns. Originally from Ecuador and Peru, these medium-sized parrots have captured the hearts of pet owners and aviculture enthusiasts, earning them alternative names such as the cherry-headed conure or the red-headed conure.

Red-masked parakeets can be identified by their bright green feathers and a mostly red head, with a noticeable pale eye-ring. You can see these parakeets live in various habitats, such as jungle and deciduous forests, but because of unintentional releases brought on by their appeal as pets, their populations have begun to spread throughout Hawaii.

The first observations were dated back to 1988 when released cage birds were sighted on the Big Island. Since then, these wandering and social birds have made their presence known throughout the Kona coast, hunting for food. But they prefer to roost and breed in the pit craters at higher elevations of Hualālai mountain.

The population has increased significantly, and now there are hundreds of individuals, which could be a threat to local coffee farmers.

You may also like:  The Neighborhoods of Hawaii (Cost of Living)

3. Red-Crowned Parrot

Red-crowned parrot
Red-crowned parrot | image by Heather Paul via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Amazona viridigenalis

Pet owners have brought the red-crowned parrot, also called the green-cheeked parrot, from eastern Mexico to Hawaii. You easily distinguish these birds apart by the red feathers on their heads, the bright green feathers with dark blue streaks behind their eyes, and the light green cheeks. Their wings also have splashes of red and blue, and their tails end with light yellow.

In its natural range, the red-crowned parrot faces endangerment due to habitat loss and the pet trade. On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, however, feral colonies of these parrots have started to worry people because they trample native plants and contaminate fruit plantations.

Since their existence threatens the delicate balance of Hawaii’s distinctive biodiversity, worries are raised about how they’ll affect the local ecosystem and agriculture.

4. Mitred Conure

Mitred conure
Mitred conure | image by Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Psittacara mitrata

Mitred parakeet is a bird originally native to Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru, but has found its way to various parts of the United States, including Hawaii. Most of this species’ feathers are green, but their foreheads are purplish, and their cheeks have varied amounts of red. In addition to that, their bills are horn-colored, and they have a white ring around each eye.

These colorful birds were introduced to Hawaii in 1986 as escaped or released cage birds. Although Hawaii has a smaller population than other regions in the US, many have settled on the islands, particularly on Maui.