Campus Wildlife

While trees are the largest, stablest, and showiest members of our community, the campus is also inhabited by a number of busy animals who interact with the plants, each other, and us, in a variety of ways.

Because Hawai‘i has no native terrestrial mammals, the campus "wildlife" is perhaps less dramatic here than on some continental campuses, consisting of a few feral introduced mammals — cats, mongooses, and rats (which present various problems!) — and a mixed assemblage of birds and insects (which can present other sets of problems, as well as benefits). Part of the responsibility of BGM/LS is to mediate the relationships between campus humans and other fauna.

While introduced species predominate, UH Mānoa hosts native birds such as resident ‘auku‘u (blackcrowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli), and migratory kōlea (Pacific golden plover, Pluvialis fulva). Campus trees provide critical habitat as nesting sites for the manu o kū (white or fairy tern, Gygis alba candida). BGM/Landscaping has protocols for protecting nesting sites, and is currently working to develop better habitat (i.e. more māmaki) for the endemic pulelehua (Kamehameha butterfly, Vanessa tameamea).

Below are some of the critters who live on campus. How many have you seen?

Birds on Campus

[This table presents an updated version of a Common Campus Birds Checklist which Kim Bridges put together as supporting material for Biology classes. Dr. Bridges' photographs, shown below, were also used on the educational Common Birds of Honolulu site from Exploring Biodiversity. Another excellent resource is the Bishop Museum's online version of Robert L. Pyle's monograph, The Birds of the Hawaiian Islands: Occurrence, History, Distribution, and Status (with Peter Pyle), with supplementary photos in the Hawai‘i Rare Bird Photograph (HRBP) Collection.]

Checklist of Birds of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Campus

Photo: D. Strauch
Duck (Mallard hybrid)

Anas platyrhynchos x wyvilliana
Anatidae

Intr.
Ducks hybridized from introduced mallards are found throughout the islands, and are commonly seen along Mānoa Stream, and at the Krauss Hall and old quarry ponds.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: Y. Jo
    Chicken • Moa

    Gallus gallus domesticus
    Phasianidae

    Intr. 1 kya
    Chickens were introduced by the first Hawaiians (Polynesians also introduced chickens to South America), but the chickens we see today are largely descended from later introductions.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: B. Harry
    Cattle Egret

    Bubulcus ibis
    Ardeidae

    Intr.
    May be seen foraging in newly cut lawns, sometimes following mowers, or walking across the tops of hedges.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: J. Palmer
    ‘Auku‘u • Black-crowned Night Heron

    Nycticorax nycticorax
    Ardeidae

    Native
    These beautiful birds are sometimes seen at the quarry pond, and may be heard at night.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.
  • DoFaW

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Kōlea • Pacific Golden Plover

    Pluvialis fulva
    Charadriidae

    Native
    Singularly defends a territory on a lawn.  These migratory birds usually leave about April 24th and return in August or September.  Males change color before migrating.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.
  • DoFaW

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Manu o Kū • Fairy Tern • White Tern

    Gygis alba
    Laridae

    Native
    Most adults are resident from February to September (some stay year around).  Soars in pairs or more, very agile and fast fliers.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.
  • DoFaW

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Pidgeon • Rock Dove

    Columba livia
    Columbidae

    Intr. 1796
    Found Individually and in small flocks.  Frequent around humans.  Often seen on ledges of building.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Spotted Dove

    Streptopelia chinensis
    Columbidae

    Intr. mid-1800s
    Small groups of two or three.  Generally afraid of humans so they are difficulty to approach.  Found on lawns or in trees.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Barred Dove • Zebra Dove

    Geopelia striata
    Columbidae

    Intr. 1922
    Flocks on lawns or around places where they can get human leftovers.  Quite unafraid of humans.  You can often walk right up to them.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: J. Jeffrey
    Rose-ringed Parakeet

    Psittacula krameri
    Psittacidae

    A naturalized population, descended from released &/or escaped pets, is established in Mānoa Valley, and may be seen (and heard) especially at the upper end of campus.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: F & K. Starr (wm)
    Pueo

    Asio flammeus sandwichensis
    Strigidae

    Native
    This small native owl has been seen at Magoon, on trees in the riparian borders of Mānoa Stream.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.
  • DoFaW

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Red-vented Bulbul

    Pycnonotus cafer
    Pycnonotidae

    Intr. mid-1950s
    Aggressive for human leftovers, often seen in lawns or on tree trunks.  One of the few large birds that can be seen on vertical tree trunks.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Red-whiskered Bulbul

    Pycnonotus jocosus
    Pycnonotidae

    Intr. c. 1965
    Less common but more visually striking than the red-vented bulbul, this species may sometimes be seen in the St.John botany courtyard.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    White-rumped Shama

    Copsychus malabaricus
    Muscicapidae

    Intr. c. 1940
    Solitary or as pairs, an uncommon bird generally seen in trees.  You are likely to encounter this bird by being attracted to its song.  It is considered one of the finest singers.
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Japanese White-eye • Mejiro

    Zosterops japonicus
    Zosteropidae

    Intr. 1929
    Hard to see since it is small, flies fast and avoids people.  Generally found alone darting from place to place, rarely spending more than a few moments in one location.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Common Myna

    Acridotheres tristis
    Sturnidae

    Intr. 1865
    Resident on lawns and trees, generally as pairs or in large groups of unattached males.  Sometimes a large group seen.  Large flocks gather in trees near sunset (this is a very noisy aggregation).
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Red-crested Cardinal

    Paroaria coronata
    Thraupidae

    Intr. c. 1930
    Often in pairs, generally on lawns and in trees, it is a fairly aggressive species.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Northern Cardinal

    Cardinalis cardinalis
    Cardinalidae

    Intr. c. 1929
    Generally seen as individuals or pairs in or around shrubs or trees.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Kunikane
    Yellow-fronted Canary

    Serinus mozambicus
    Fringillidae

    Intr.
    Sometimes seen at the upper end of campus.
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    House Sparrow

    Passer domesticus
    Passeridae

    Intr. 1871
    Pest around outdoor eating areas, but also found on lawns and in shrubs.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Common Waxbill

    Estrilda astrild
    Estrildidae

    Intr. 1970s
    Found in small flocks eating grass in lawns.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: F & K. Starr
    Nutmeg Mannikin

    Lonchura punctulata
    Estrildidae

    Intr.
    May be seen singly or in large, gregarious flocks.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    Java Sparrow

    Padda oryzivora
    Estrildidae

    Intr. 1867 & 1960s
    Flocks up to a dozen or more found on lawns eating grasses.  Relatively approachable.
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Photo: K. Bridges
    House Finch • Linnet

    Haemorhous mexicanus
    Fringillidae

    Intr. pre-1870
    Formerly listed as Carpodacus mexicanus. Coloration of the head may vary. May be seen on the center walkway on campus.
  • AviBase
  • Explore Biod.
  • Bish.Mus (pdf)
  • Wikiped.

  • Campus Invertebrates

    We share the Mānoa campus with an array of smaller critters. We hope to provide a wider inventory of our cohabitants in the future, and offer the examples below as a stimulus to collecting this information — please let us know if you'd like to contribute!

    Checklist of Insects of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Campus
    Butterflies and Moths
    pulelehua • Kamehameha butterfly

    Vanessa tameamea
    Nymphalidae

    Native
    One of our two native butterflies, endangered and rarely seen, but housed at Will Haines' CTAHR lab as part of a species recovery effort. The Campus Arboretum is now planting increasing amounts of māmaki, the endemic tree which is its prefered food.
  • our blog
  • Wikipedia
  • Sleepy Orange butterfly

    Abaeis nicippe
    Pieridae

    Introduced
  • UH News
  • Wikipedia
  • Monarch butterfly

    Danaus plexippus
    Nymphalidae

    Introduced
    Often seen near crown flower (Calotropis gigantea), which is one of its food and host plants, as well as being one of the favorite flowers of another monarch, Queen Lili‘uokalani.
  • Ex.Biodiv.
  • Wikipedia
  • Bees and Wasps
    Ants
    Cockroaches and other beetles
    More bugs

    (We plan to later add information on other orders of campus invertebrates as well.)

    Mitigating impacts

    BGM is committed to helping make interspecies interactions as positive as possible! To this end, we work to diffuse the situations in which conflict can occur. Birds which are beloved by some people can be considered an annoyance by others, due to their gregarious chatter and their generous leavings. We've had substantial success in reducing their negative impacts by using careful tree-pruning and sonic discouragement to move them out of areas highly trafficked by humans. Similarly with cats (Felis catus), which have a large feral population, we work with a network of designated caregivers, in order to keep the campus cat population free from disease, and centered in areas that reduces conflict with humans and impact on birds.

    While campus bees are generally innocuous — and some of our resident bees produce both honey and research data — they can be troublesome when they become overabundant, at which point we have beekeepers remove the swarm.

    Some species, such as rats and cockroaches, are never really welcome on campus. The best method for keeping them away is not to feed them! Please take seriously the signs you see about keeping food out of classrooms and other areas.

    More information

    UH Mānoa was written up in the National Wildlife Federation's report on campus wildlife across the US:

    Campus Wild

    Kristy Jones, Courtney Cochran, David J. Eagan, & Juliana Goodlaw-Morris
    University of Hawaii at Manoa

    The Campus Wild: How College and University Green Landscapes Provide Havens for Wildlife and “Lands-on” Experiences for Students (A National Wildlife Federation Report):17

    Read our blog!

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