Owls in Hawaii

Owls in Hawaii

The revered Hawaiian short-eared owls are known as Pueo. Out of respect, and by tradition, we never point at them when seeing these beautiful raptors in flight.

Owls are all about legend and folklore and have been for centuries. They have a special place in Hawaiian mythology.

Hawaiian owls are on the endangered list. They are believed to have arrived in the Hawaiian Islands at least 1,000 years ago and their existence here is thought tied to the rat population. Pueo (the word both singular and plural) are active both during the day and at night, although I’ve spotted most of them at twilight, soaring over large open areas. On occasion, I’ve also seen them on a telephone poll at mid-day, looking down on traffic. Their population has been declining especially on Oahu – where they are dazed by bright lights.

Look for Pueo throughout in Hawaii – especially on Kauai where there are no mongoose to threaten them. They’re more common in less populated areas but also are seen in urban areas.

Have you seen Owls in Hawaii?

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  1. C Dazzi (2 years ago)

    We have Pueo in Kalaheo. Before moving here, on one of many visits years ago I had my first close encounter with a huge owl that appeared to be white – that was 1995. Since then, I moved to the same land where I spotted that owl and have since seen them often up on our hill – mostly at night – but sometimes mid -day cruising the fields for a snack! A sighting always leaves me in awe ~ and very grateful for the visit!

  2. Joyce (2 years ago)

    My husband has seen them several times in our Big Island neighborhood in Mountain View which is very rural.

  3. Bill (2 years ago)

    I saw them regularly about 5:50 a.m. at Kona Village before the tsunami.

  4. Linda Kersten (2 years ago)

    I actually saw a few while I was on Molokai last November. In one of the sightings the owl was just sitting on the side of the road. I pulled over to see if it was hurt and whenI got out of my car it just flew away. It was awesome to be that close to one. 3 out of the 4 that I saw were just after dark.