Native Bird of the Month 9/2022 - 'Io
Updated: Oct 10, 2022
The Hawaiian Hawk, (Buteo solitarus, or 'io), is the only hawk species native to Hawaii. These birds are currently only present on the Big Island, but fossil evidence tells us they were historically found on all the main islands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the 'io as endangered in 1967. In 2020, after decades of conservation efforts, the species was removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and is now thriving here on Hawaii Island. 'Io are territorial, and remain in those territories for most of the year.
Adult birds have two plumage variations, a dark phase and a light phase (both shown here) that are on display at different times of the year. As some of you may have seen, the Parker School campus has its very own 'io family, and birds are often seen flying over the soccer field or more recently around the Frear building and basketball court. If you see one, take a moment to enjoy this rare species here in our own backyard!