Birds of Hawaii #8: Golden Plover (or Kolea)


The Hawaiian name for the Golden Plover is the Kolea.  It is the most abundant winter visitor to Hawaii. They return every year from their summer nesting grounds in Alaska. It’s also one of the few native birds that one will readily see in the city. It can easily be seen in grassy fields, and lawns where they run around in short bursts looking for insects.

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A very interesting habit of the birds is their return year after year to the same winter territory. They spend an entire summer in just one area and then return to it year after year. At night they roost on the tops of roofs (in the city).

These birds do not stay the same color for the entire duration of their stay in Hawaii. In August/September when they arrive they are mottled colored. Males will attain a dark black patch on their breasts before leaving the islands in early May. Females also get breeding plumage but look very different from the males.

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Interesting Facts: Travels from Alaska to Hawaii non-stop in 50 hours during its migration. Females will leave first, followed by males and the young are often left to migrate on their own. Scientists still aren’t sure how the young know where to go!


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