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Are There Hummingbirds in Hawaii? The Interesting Answer!

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male violet-crowned hummingbird perched on a twig

Hawaii is home to more than 300 species of birds, 44 of which are endemic to the state. Sadly, of those 44, 33 are on the endangered species list. One type of bird that has never been found in Hawaii, though—and likely never will—is the hummingbird.

Seeing as how Hawaii has so many local varieties of fruits and vegetables, it may be a surprise that no hummingbirds reside in the state. There are a couple of reasons that hummingbirds cannot be found there, even on the most remote islands within the archipelago. Let’s explore these reasons and look at the pollinating birds that do call Hawaii home!

hummingbird divider Hummingbirds Have Been Banned in the State of Hawaii

Hummingbirds are on the list of prohibited animals for importation into the state of Hawaii. It is unlawful to bring a hummingbird into the state, even just for a visit, due to the risk that it will escape and learn how to adapt to Hawaii’s wild terrains. The reason hummingbirds are banned is that they are amazing pineapple pollinators.

Unfortunately, when they pollinate pineapples, they encourage the pineapples to use their energy to make seeds instead of fruit. This results in a less-marketable product for the pineapple industry that thrives in Hawaii. Therefore, it is in the industry’s best interest to keep hummingbirds away and maintain complete control over the growth, propagation, and quality of the pineapple fruit.

anna's hummingbird
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay

hummingbird divider

Hummingbirds Migrate But Not as Far as Hawaii

Certain species of hummingbirds migrate long distances, including over the ocean. For example, Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds travel about 500 miles across the ocean to migrate to Mexico from the United States and Canada. It is believed that they migrate over the ocean to avoid a longer route following the shoreline or any inland routes.

This migration route means the hummingbirds cannot stop to rest or refuel their energy needs. Furthermore, they face the risk of being exposed to strong winds and serious storms. 500 miles over water is tough enough for these birds, which makes it impossible for them to travel more than 2,000 miles from any land mass to the islands of Hawaii.

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Pollinators That Do Thrive in Hawaii

There may not be any hummingbirds in Hawaii, but there are still amazing pollinators that thrive on the islands. First, honeybees are in Hawaii, and they are responsible for the flourishing flowers, fruits, and veggies that Hawaiians rely upon for food. Other pollinating animals to take note of include:

  • Hummingbird Moths— They look like tiny hummingbirds and grow to 1 inch long at most when fully grown. They are moths, not birds, but they are great pollinators and help keep Hawaii’s foliage and gardens thriving throughout the year.
  • Butterflies— These beautiful flying critters are known for keeping the flowers throughout Hawaii big, bright, and beautiful due to their pollination expertise. Their elongated tongues work well when dealing with deep flower corollas.

hummingbird divider Conclusion

There are no hummingbirds living in Hawaii, but there are many other types of birds and pollinating animals that you can see during your visit or while living in the state. From pollinating butterflies to hummingbird moths, there is no shortage of natural pollination in Hawaii even if hummingbirds are not part of the action.

Featured Image Credit: Matthew Jolley, Shutterstock

About the Author Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Since 2000, Rachael has been a freelance writer, and has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She is an artist at heart and loves to read, paint, and make jewelry in her spare time. Rachael is obsessed with helping animals in need both in her community and anywhere in the world where she feels she can make a difference. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens, so it's no surprise that animals happen to be her favorite topic to write about!