Wildlife & Habitat

Hawaiian moorhen in mangroves

Hidden along the shoreline of Pearl Harbor, surrounded by urban development, the Honouliuli and Waiawa wetlands offer oases for migratory birds from as far as the Arctic Tundra while providing all life requirements for Hawaiian waterbirds. Avid birdwatchers gaze into a refuge from the Betty Bliss Observation Deck, reconnecting with nature. Environmental education links our youth to wetland ecology, native wildlife, and cultural heritage.

  • Hawaiian Waterbirds

    Hawaiian coot

    Tucked amidst naval facilities and urban development, the Honouliuli and Waiawa Units are managed to provide wetland habitat for four of Hawai‘i’s endangered waterbirds: a‘eo, ‘alae ke‘oke‘o, ‘alae ‘ula, and koloa maoli, as well as a variety of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. The primary causes of the decline of Hawaiian waterbird species has been the loss and degradation of wetland habitat and introduced predators (e.g., rats, dogs, cats, mongoose). Other factors include alien plants, introduced fish, bull frogs, disease, and sometimes environmental contaminants. All Hawaiian waterbirds are federally listed as endangered.

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  • Endangered Plants

    Abutilon menziesii / Ko`oloa`ula

    Although Hawai'i is home to an amazing assortment of exotic plant life, a large proportion of the islands' native plants and flowers are endangered. Approximately half of all the world's endangered plants are in Hawai'i  and thousands of native species have already become extinct. The Kalaeloa Unit was established to protect and enhance the habitat for the endangered plants ‘Ewa hinahina and ‘akoko. The largest population of ‘akoko on O‘ahu and the second largest population of endangered ‘Ewa hinahina can be found within this unit. 

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  • Anchialine shrimp

    Tiny red and yellow shrimp

    Amidst the water-filled cracks, crevices of the Kalaeloa Unit exists a subterranean world few have ever seen. In these underground brackish and saline waters known as anchialine pools translucent greens, yellows, and reds sparkle like precious gems in a treasure chest. These rare biological gems are known as anchialine pool shrimp.