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2 Common Types of Sparrows in Hawaii (With Pictures)

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java sparrow on the ground

While there are only two types of sparrows found living in Hawaii, these birds are abundant, especially in populated areas. Therefore, it shouldn’t be tough to find one when you are actively looking for them.

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The 2 Types of Sparrows in Hawaii

1. Java Sparrow (Lonchura oryzivora)

java sparrow perched on a twig
Image Credit: 70154, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Lonchura oryzivora
Family: Estrildidae

The Java Sparrow is native to Java and Bali, but their natural population in those places has declined due to environmental reasons. However, after being introduced to Hawaii, these sparrows have thrived, especially on the Big Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. They can be spotted in city parks and other lowland areas on these islands, especially Oahu.

Java Sparrows tend to create nests in the eaves of buildings when living in cities and in trees when living in agricultural areas. They have grey wing feathers, black heads, white cheeks, and beautiful red bills. Java sparrows congregate in packs of sometimes more than 1,000 and work together to find sources of grain for nutrition.

2. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

a house sparrow on a tree branch
Image Credit: KnipsKaline, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Passer domesticus
Family: Passeridase

These cute little birds were imported from New Zealand to Hawaii sometime in the 1870s. Since then, they have established healthy populations in towns and populated areas throughout the Hawaiian Islands. These birds are about 6 inches in length and have long tails and talons. The females are dull brown, and the males have black and grey markings on their wings.

House Sparrows are opportunistic eaters, so they will snack on everything from worms and insects to breadcrumbs and even French fries left behind by humans. You can hear when they are around because they tend to be vocal. Their chirps have both short and long variations.

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Birdwatching in Hawaii: Tips for Spotting Sparrows

Here are a few tips and tricks that can help make the experience of looking for sparrows in Hawaii more enjoyable and successful overall:

  • Spend time in the parks. While you are there, take the time to look at the trees, especially the branches near the tops. Chances are that you will see a few sparrows hopping around from branch to branch.
  • Keep an eye out for sparrows during short hikes. Chances are that you won’t see any when hiking through forests and old volcanoes, but there are bound to be a few hanging out on trails between parking lots and beaches and through county parks.
  • Wear bug spray. Mosquitoes are no joke in Hawaii, and if you are not protected, chances are that you won’t want to stick around long enough to enjoy the sparrows once you do see them. Being protected from pests will help make your experience more pleasurable.

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Sparrows are common sights in Hawaii, even though only two types exist in the state. Both the House and Java Sparrows enjoy living near populated areas because the food sources are typically abundant. You may even see one or two sparrows hanging out at an outdoor eatery while you enjoy breakfast or lunch!

Featured Image Credit By: Butterfly Hunter, 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!