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Photo of dolphins swimming near an UnCruise skiff (Hawaiian wildlife images). Photo: UnCruise Adventures

Hawaii Wildlife & Plants

The Hawaiian Islands are more than 2,500 miles from any other landmass. Due in part to the islands’ remote location, there are no snakes in Hawaii and only two native mammals—the hoary bat and the Hawaiian monk seal. It’s more common to see wild birds and introduced mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Flowering plants, fruit-bearing trees, and banyans provide perches for songbirds; sunbaked lava rock offers hiding spots for geckos and lizards.

Of the world’s 88 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins), 24 have been seen in Hawaii. Humpback whales travel 3,000 miles in less than two months, migrating from Alaska to breed and give birth in the islands’ warm and shallow waters. Many sea creatures, including several species of dolphin, can be seen in the archipelago all year long. Here are some of the tropical plants and animals you may encounter on an UnCruise Adventure through the Hawaiian Islands. 

Hawaiian Marine Life

  • Hammerhead sharks
  • Spinner, spotted, and bottlenose dolphins
  • Humpback whale (pictured)
  • Pilot, melon head, and false killer whales
  • Green sea turtles
  • Giant Pacific Manta rays
  • Octopus
  • Whale sharks
  • Humuhumunukunukuapaua’a (the official Hawaii state fish, also called the rectangular triggerfish)
  • Yellow tang, Moorish idols, butterflyfish, white-spotted toby, clown fish, wrasse, trumpetfish, needlefish, eels
UnCruise guests see a humpback whale off the coast of Maui (Hawaiian wildlife images)


Hawaiian Birds & Land Animals

  • Nene or “Hawaiian goose” (pictured)
  • Hawaiian honeycreepers
  • Pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl)
  • Myna birds
  • Ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt)
  • Cardinals
  • Egrets
  • Feral pig
  • Indian mongoose
  • Bullfrogs and tree frogs
  • Geckos
Photo of two nene, also called the Hawaiian goose (Hawaiian wildlife images)


Hawaiian Plants & Flowers

  • Liliko‘i (yellow passion fruit)
  • Taro
  • Hibiscus (pictured)
  • Plumeria
  • Anthurium
  • Haleconia
  • Orchids
  • Ohi‘a lehua
  • Blue and red ginger
  • Bird of paradise
  • Orchid
  • Noni
  • Pikake
Photo of a hibiscus flower (Hawaiian plants images). Photo: Cameron Zegers

Chart identifying whale season in Hawaii and other best times for wildlife watching

Whale season in Hawaii varies, depending on when North Pacific humpback whales migrate south from Alaskan waters. Peak season is generally December through February. Other marine mammals, like dolphins, pilot whales, and false killer whales, swim Hawaiian waters year-round.

When booking with UnCruise, also consider what weather conditions will be best for the outdoor activities that make every day of the trip an adventure.