13 White Birds In Hawaii: Photos And Fun Facts

White Birds In Hawaii

Have you ever seen a white bird in Hawaii? if not, you’re missing out on one of the most beautiful sights in nature. There are several different types of white birds in Hawaii and each one is special in its own way.

For example, the White-tailed tropicbird is one of the prettiest bird in Hawaii. It’s also the only bird in the world with a tail that’s longer than its body! The Herring Gull is another popular choice among bird enthusiasts.

Whether you’re an experienced birder or just getting started, watching white birds in Hawaii is sure to be a memorable experience.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular white birds in Hawaii, along with some fun facts about each one.

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13 White Birds In Hawaii (with photos)

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Little Tern

Little Tern

Small and delicate-looking, the little tern has a black cap with a white forehead and yellow legs, as well as a thin, sharp bill with a black tip. It can be found on all the main Hawaiian Islands, as well as on Niihau and Lehua.

A little tern will plunge dive for fish, just like a white tern. Colonies of these birds breed on gravelly and shingle coasts and islands, where they lay two to four eggs per clutch.

To attract females, male little terns carry fish as part of their courtship ritual. In a ‘V’ shape, the males descend at a glide while the females chase them high up into the sky.

Red-Tailed Tropicbird

Red-Tailed Tropicbird

The red-tailed tropicbird is easily distinguished by its all-white plumage, black mask, and red beak. A red tail streamer is about twice as long as the bird’s body as an adult. The red-tailed tropicbird breeds on several of the Hawaiian Islands.

The red-tailed tropicbird hunts by plunging into the water. It can dive up to 15 feet deep, stay there for around 26 seconds, and swallow its prey before coming up again.

As part of their courting ritual, two or more birds perform vertical, backward somersaults while squawking harshly.

White Tern

White Tern

The white fairy tern has entirely white plumage, a forked tail, and a black bill with a blue base. It is one of the most graceful of all the terns and is found on all main Hawaiian islands. However, when it comes to the main islands, the white tern is restricted to Oahu’s south shore. 

The female usually lays two eggs in a cup-shaped nest made of twigs and leaves, which is often built on a branch or in a tree cavity. It nests in coral islands, near small branches, rocky ledges, and structures made of manmade material. 

As a carnivore, it hunts squids, small fish, and other animals by plunging into the water. White fairy terns feed at sea in the morning and then return to land at night, which sailors used to navigate them toward land.

Masked Booby

Masked Booby

The masked booby is commonly seen in Hawaii, especially around Makapu’u Point and the Northwest Chain. The bird nests in colonies on the ground or in trees. It usually lays two eggs per clutch, which hatch after around six weeks.

One of the largest species of booby, these bright white birds measure up to 33 inches in length and 67 inches in wingspan. The yellow beaks of this large bird in hawaii have dark masks at the base and wings with black trailing edges.

White-Tailed Tropicbird

White-tailed tropicbirds are among Hawaii’s prettiest white birds. Most of the Hawaiian islands in the southeast are home to this species. It is estimated that about half of their Hawaiian population breeds on Kauai.

The white-tailed tropicbird is a slender bird with mainly pearl white plumage and black bands on its wings. Additionally, it has an orange-yellow beak and a black eye mask.

Unlike red-tailed tropicbirds, white-tailed tropicbirds have a white bill, pure white back, and black wing bars. Koa’e’kea is the Hawaiian name for the white-tailed tropicbird. You can see it from boats or the shore throughout the year.

Red-Footed Booby

Red-Footed Booby

Hawaii’s most common all-white seabird is the red-footed booby with white morph. The red-footed booby is one of the smallest species of booby and can be identified by its red feet and blue beak. 

The color can range from all white to dark brown or blackish on the wings.

The bird breeds throughout the year on the Southeastern Hawaiian Islands, while it mates primarily during the spring and summer on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Cattle Egret

Red-Footed Booby

The egret is a small heron with short legs and a thick neck, and its bill and legs are dull oranges. The white cattle bird is also known as the cattle bird since it follows cattle and other large animals. 

During the breeding season, the adult’s white plumage turns golden on its head, chest, and back. These Hawaiian white birds usually gather in large groups near ponds. 

It is common for cattle egrets to migrate to North Africa and Asia during the winter months. And the prey it eats includes small mammals, frogs, lizards, worms, and land insects.

Short-Tailed Albatross

Short-Tailed Albatross

A short-tailed albatross can reach a body length of 37 inches and has an average wingspan of 7.5 feet, making it the largest seabird in Hawaii.

White-colored plumage with black flight feathers and black terminal bars on the tail distinguish adults. The beaks of short-tailed albatrosses also develop a blue tip with age, and their napes and crowns have yellow staining.

In addition to eating fish, squid, shrimp, and eggs, they also follow ships looking for discarded offal.



Hawaiian sanderlings spend winter in the Hawaiian Islands after summering in the far north. They forage on the open beach, running back and forth in the waves as they pick up small crabs, mollusks, and other invertebrates.

The beaks and legs of this bird are black and its overall color is white. Its back is a pale grey. Wading in small groups, sanderlings look for small insects and shellfish on mudflats and along the shore.

During the breeding season, sanderlings become extremely territorial and aggressive. 



The bufflehead duck is a small sea duck known as Maui white bird that has a white body, a black back, a glossy black-green head, and a large white patch on its back.

In the course of their migration, some individuals may end up in Hawaii. Some Buffleheads spend their winter on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island, Kauai, Lanai, and Molokai. 

Foraging for food, this small diving bird spends half of its time underwater while it spends the other half on land. To identify a grey bill, look for pink legs and feet.

The bufflehead bird is monogamous, meaning that it stays with the same mate for many years at a time. As omnivores, the bird feeds on a variety of aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and plants, among others.

Semipalmated Plover

A semipalmated plover gets its name from its partially webbed feet. Generally, semipalmated plovers live in the Southeastern Hawaiian Islands, but it is also found in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Islands. 

Winter is the most common time of year in the state, and it is mostly found in wetlands. A “broken-wing” display is used to entice intruders away from the nest, and It consumes insects, crustaceans, and worms.

The bird is easily recognized by its white underparts, brown upper parts, black eyering, and short orange beaks with black tips. It has orange feet.

Ring-Billed Gull

Ring-Billed Gull

A ring-billed gull gets its name from the dark rings on its relatively short bill. This medium-sized gull has greyish-white wings and a white body. There may be small populations in Kauai and Oahu during winter. 

They are often referred to as “fast food gulls” because they scavenge for food around fast-food restaurants. The ring-billed gull feeds on insects, fish, grains, eggs, earthworms, and rodents.

It is not uncommon for both parents to incubate their hatchlings on small islands.  

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Herring Gull is characterized by a large beak and pink legs. Its lower mandible has a small red spot. In addition to having white plumage and grey backs and wings, herring gulls also have black wingtips with white spots. 

Occasionally, herring gulls visit Hawaii but do not breed there. It is possible to spot them around Hawaii’s limited wetlands and mudflats.

It is primarily a scavenger (like other gulls). Their diet consists of invertebrates, fish, insects, carrion, and human refuse.


There’s something about Hawaii that just makes you feel at home. Maybe it’s the warm sun or the gentle ocean waves. Or maybe it’s the Ubiquitous presence of white birds. 

Whatever the reason, Hawaii is a place where people come to relax and enjoy life. And what could be more relaxing than watching the white birds of Hawaii glide gracefully across the sky? 

So, whether you’re looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, or you’re just hoping to catch a glimpse of one of these beautiful creatures, Hawaii is the perfect destination.

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