Raptors are magnificent birds, and the endemic and endangered Hawaiian Hawk, or 'Io, is no exception. Certainly King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani) thought so, taking the name 'Iolani: heavenly hawk, exalted hawk. These birds of prey come in two color morphs: a light morph, in which the head and back are dark, but the breast and belly are white and sometimes streaky; and a dark morph, which is brown throughout. Broad winged with a stout body, 'Io are about fifteen inches long for the male, and eighteen inches long for the female. This size difference is typical for raptors. While there are scattered sightings of them on Kaua'i, Maui and O'ahu, the 'Io is known to breed only on the Big Island. They are found island-wide, particularly along the Hamakua coast. 'Io favour forested areas, but have also adapted to areas of human disturbance, such as fallow sugar cane fields. Fidelty to mate and territory is high, and nesting begins as early as March. Mature 'ohi'a trees are preferred, though nests have been documented in a variety of native and non-native trees. Typically one egg is laid, with chick activity greatest during the summer months. Fledging peaks in mid-August, though the parents will continue to feed the youngsters for several months.
welcomes you to visit with the all the wonderful flora and fauna that we share this lovely aina with.