Pacific Island Books
Hawai'i Nature

[Previous Page] [Next Page] [Up] [Home Page] [Mail] [Contents]

Hawai'i Nature


All Stings Considered: First Aid and Medical Treatment of Hawai’i’s Marine Injuries by Craig Thomas and Susan Scott. Recommended retail price $29.95, our price $27.

I wish I had this book a few years ago. Apparently the treatment of jellyfish stings with vinegar is no longer recommended, neither is alcohol (Dr. Thomas recommends picking off tentacles, washing and then treating the affected area with ice to lessen pain). All Stings Considered is a very thorough look at every conceivable Hawaiian marine injury no matter how far-fetched (I mean how often do people get bitten by Hawaiian Monk Seals?). While specific to Hawaii in terms of some of the injuries considered, the book should have much wider appeal and it is highly recommended to all dive operators, yachties and the keen scuba divers. I have some complaints; the index is terrible. I looked up stings and Portuguese man-of-war only to find neither …. Yet there is an entire section on treating Portuguese man-of-war stings. Seal doesn’t occur in the index but Monk Seal does ... so let’s hope your first-aider knows that it was a Monk Seal that bit you. But these are trivial quibbles over an otherwise very well presented book. Highly recommended. Soft cover, 233 pages.


Birds of Kaua'i, The by Jim Denny. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0824820975. Recommended retail price $19.95.

Kaua'i is the place for birdwatching in Hawai'i. Let The Birds of Kaua'i be your guide. Written in an appealing, informal style The Birds of Kaua'i offers readers an enjoyable look at the avifauna of Hawaii's oldest island. Two of the most important and impressive birdwatching sites in the State are located on Kaua'i.

Superbly illustrated with more than 80 color photographs The Birds of Kaua'i covers every bird species that can be seen on the Garden Island. The author's enthusiasm and knowledge are evident on every page as he describes native forest birds, seabirds, alien birds, and migratory visitors. One of the world's rarest birds is the Kaua'i 'O'o', the victim of predation and extensive changes to its environment. These and other threats to the Island's fragile bird populations are discussed. Soft cover, 103 pages. Published in 1999.

Birds of Hawaii a photographic guide cover

A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Hawaii: The Main Islands and Offshore Waters by Jim Denny. A Latitude 20 Book. University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-3383-1. Recommended retail price $19.95

“The life of bird-watchers in Hawaii has been beautifully enriched and made easier with the arrival of [this] superb Latitude 20 series bird book.” —Maui News (31 January 2010)

Hawai‘i is home to some of the most beautiful and sought after birds in the world. From the offshore waters, where graceful seabirds glide on the cool, refreshing trade winds, to the lush ancient forests of the mountains, where colorful endemic honeycreepers reside, Hawai‘i’s birds are wonderfully diverse. Introduced species and long-distance migrants contribute to the splendid assortment. Some island bird species are extremely abundant and instantly familiar since we encounter them daily in our outdoor activities. Others are so rare they are glimpsed only once in a lifetime. In these magnificent islands there is something for birders of every sort.

Superbly illustrated in color by the author and Jack Jeffrey, two of Hawai‘i’s best nature photographers, this guide includes nearly every species of bird on land and at sea in the main Hawaiian Islands. In total, 170 species or subspecies are described and illustrated. This comprehensive work is an essential resource for those who are interested in identifying, locating, and learning more about the avifauna of Hawai‘i.

Soft cover, 196 pages, color illus. Published in 2010.

Jim Denny grew up amid the bayous and hardwood forests of rural Louisiana, where he learned his love for the outdoors. For the last forty years, he has been a resident of Kekaha, a small, peaceful town on the leeward coast of Kaua‘i. Jim is the author of two books, The Birds of Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i’s Butterflies and Moths. He has also produced two videos, Hawai‘i’s Birds and Birds of the Rainforest. His photos have appeared in textbooks, conservation literature, and popular magazines including Audubon, Smithsonian, and National Geographic.


Birds of Hawai'i and the Tropical Pacific: A Field Guide to by H. Douglas Pratt, Philip L. Bruner, and Delwyn G. Berret. Illustrated by H. Douglas Pratt. Published by Princeton University Press. Recommended retail price $45.

This is the first field guide to the identification of the birds found among the islands of the tropical Pacific, including the Hawaiian Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, southeastern Polynesia, and Micronesia. It is intended both as a reference for the expert and as an introduction to birding in the region for the novice. Small enough to be carried afield, it contains much previously unpublished information about behavior, vocalizations, ecology, and distribution. The forty five color plates depict all the plumages of all bird species that breed in the islands, as well as those that regularly visit them and the surrounding oceans, and of most species believed to be extinct on the islands. Black and white figures show many of the rarer visitors.

Introductory sections discuss the tropical Pacific as an environment for birds, problems of birding on islands, and bird conservation, Appendices include maps of the island groups and a thorough bibliography. Soft cover, 520 pages. Published in 1987.


Diving and Snorkeling Guide to the Hawaiian Islands by Doug Wallin. Recommended retail price $14.95.

Many people will get their first taste of snorkeling or scuba diving in Hawai’i and this book gives you information on 30 prime sites. The book lists Dive Shops and includes many full color photos of marine life. Additionally there is useful advice on where to eat, stay and visit while you are topside. Soft cover, 107 pages. Recommended retail price $14.95, our price $14.50.


Enjoying Birds in Hawaii: A Birdfinding Guide to the Fiftieth State by Douglas Pratt. Recommended retail price $18.95. Unfortunately this book is now out of print and new copies are unavailable.

This book is designed to show you where and how to find Hawai’i’s birds. It includes a wealth of information about ecology, behavior, conservation and travel. In addition it provides valuable information on weather, equipment, accommodation and how to gain access to restricted areas. It is not an identification guide. It is more of a guide to bird habitats than it is to the birds themselves so it is sure to increase your knowledge of the natural history of these fascinating islands. As Allan Keith, President of the American Birding Association Inc. said “Doug Pratt’s new bird-finding guide to Hawaii is as essential to any visiting birder as binoculars. The guide contains everything needed to seek all the special birds of Hawaii. I wished I ‘d had it for my last visit; now I’ll have to go back.” Sigh, such hardship. Soft cover, 195 pages.


Exploring Hanauma Bay by Susan Scott with photographs by David Schrichte. Recommended retail price $12.95, our price $12.

Almost everyone who has visited Oahu ends up at Hanauma Bay and it is here that many people try snorkeling for the first time. This nature preserve provides a wonderful educational opportunity and Exploring Hanauma Bay ensures that you will get the most from your time there. Susan Scott describes walking tours, wading tours, easy snorkeling, advanced snorkeling and scuba diving. The wonderful photos by David Schrichte add immeasurably to a highly recommended package. Soft cover, 90 pages.

Click here for photo of blenny from Exploring Hanauma Bay , photo by David Schrichte (19.57K)


Ferns of Hawai'i by Kathy Valier. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0824816404. Recommended retail price $14.95.

A fern-lover once wrote: "If you wish to know ferns you must follow them." Hawai`i, with approximately two hundred species of ferns and fern allies, is the ideal place to begin the journey, and Ferns of Hawai`i the ideal guide. Written for those who wish to become followers of these delightfully subtle plants, this introductory work begins with a description of Hawai`i's ferns and their ecology. Sections on where to find ferns, their use by Hawaiians, and common, Hawaiian, and scientific names are provided. With the aid of color and black and white photographs naturalist Kathy Valier describes moire than sixty of the most common ferns growing wild in Hawai'i, from the tiny water fern Azolla to the wiry masses of the scrambling uluhe. Information on habitat and distribution accompanies each description. Soft cover, 88 pages. Published in 1995.


Hawaii; a Natural History by Sherwin Carlquist. Recommended retail price $35, our price $30.

This has been the definitive reference work for Hawaiian natural history since it was first published in 1980. Since then it has been reprinted three times. The book deals with aspects of Hawai’i’s natural history from geology and climate through dispersal, main biomes and the Leeward Island chain. If you are a visitor to Hawai’i or a biologist with an interest in these fascinating islands, this is the book to start (and possibly finish) with. More color photos would be useful but as it is the book contains over 1000 photos which identify over 800 animal and plant species. Highly recommended. Soft cover, 468 pages.


Hawai'i, An Underwater Guide to by Ann Fielding and Ed Robinson. $19.95

This hard cover book provides a highly accessible over-view of Hawai'i's marine life. Ann is a highly respected marine biologist who, amongst her other talents, takes people on guided snorkel tours. Ann has also written Hawaiian Reefs and Tidepools. The book includes over 200 color photos by gifted Hawaiian underwater photographer Ed Robinson. As a biologist/photographer myself I can recommend this book highly. The science is right and the photographs are superb.


Hawaiian Birdlife (second edition) by Andrew Berger. Recommended retail price $34.95, our price $30.

This is the definitive book on Hawaiian birds. Famed ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson said “No archipelago in the world has a more fascinating ornithological history, and therefore no student of island birds or the evolutionary process can afford to miss this book.”. Each living Hawaiian bird species is discussed in detail. Appendices cover the 122 migrant birds and stragglers, 106 species of introduced bird NOT known to have established and 22 species of established gamebirds. Highly recommended. Hard cover, 260 pages.

Click here for plate from Hawaiian Birdlife. (31.45K)


Hawaiian Coastal Plants: An Illustrated Field Guide by Mark Merlin. ISBN 0964033526. Recommended retail price $9.95.


Hawaiian Forest Plants: An Illustrated Field Guide by Mark Merlin. ISBN 096403350X. Recommended retail price $9.95.


Hawaiian Insects and Their Kin by Francis Howarth and William Mull. Recommended retail price $21.95, our price $20.

Hawaiian insects are world renowned for the degree to which they have radiated in these islands. While it is the fruit flies that are the best known, many other insect groups have diversified also. Hawaii boasts a carnivorous caterpillar, the happy face spider and a whole host of other fascinating endemic arthropods, many of which are brilliantly illustrated in this useful guide. Frustratingly, there is an index of scientific names but no index of common names. However the table of contents serves as an index of sorts. 200 excellent color photographs accompany an interesting text. Introductory chapters deal with features of the Hawaiian Islands, a history of Hawaiian entomology, the origin of the insect fauna, insect evolution, conservation and insects as an educational resource. This would be an excellent text for any school or college groups contemplating a visit to Hawaii and should be on the shelf of every entomologist. Hard cover, 160 pages.

Click here for photo of Drosophila grimshawi (a fruitfly) from Hawaii (photo by William Mull)


Hawaiian Natural History, Ecology, and Evolution by Alan Ziegler. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0824821904. Recommended retail price $59.00.

Not since Willam A. Bryan's 1915 landmark compendium, Hawaiian Natural History, has there been a single-volume work that offers such extensive coverage of this complex but fascinating subject. Illustrated with more than two dozen color plates and a hundred photographs and line drawings, Hawaiian Natural History, Ecology, and Evolution updates both the earlier publication and subsequent works by compiling and synthesizing in a uniform and accessible fashion the widely scattered information now available.

Readers can trace the natural history of the Hawaiian Archipelago through the book's twenty-eight chapters or focus on specific topics such as island formation by plate tectonics, plant and animal evolution, flightless birds and their fossil sites, Polynesian migrational history and ecology, the effects of humans and exotic animals on the environment, current conservation efforts, and the contributions of the many naturalists who visited the islands over the centuries and the stories behind their discoveries. An extensive annotated bibliography and a list of audio-visual materials will help readers locate additional sources of information.

Alan C. Ziegler lived in Hawai`i for more than three decades, spending the first half of this period as head of Bishop Museum's Vertebrate Zoology Division and the second as an independent zoological consultant. He taught in the anthropology, general science, and zoology departments of the University of Hawai`i and at community colleges in the state. Hard cover, 479 pages. Published in 2002.


Hawaiian Reef Animals (Revised Edition) by Edmund Hobson and E.H. Chave. Recommended retail price $23.95, our price $21.

When Hawaiian Reef Animals was first published in 1970 it represented a distillation of all the available knowledge about the subject. It was a pioneer publication and introduced many to the wonders of the reef. In 1990 this revised edition was published to bring it up-to-date. No doubt a third edition is in the pipeline but for now this classic will educate a whole new generation. Recommended. Soft cover, 137 pages.


Hawai’i’s Birds, A Pocket Guide to by Douglas Pratt with photographs by Jack Jeffrey and Douglas Pratt. Recommended retail price $8.95.

Most ornithologists are familiar with Douglas Pratt who has published widely on Hawaiian birds. This small field guide will identify most of the birds seen by the beginner. A thumbnail guide on the best places in the islands to watch birds provides added value. Recommended. Soft cover, 112 pages.


Hawai'i's Ferns and Fern Allies by Daniel Palmer. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 024825225. Recommended retail price $60.

Hawai`i's Ferns and Fern Allies is the first comprehensive survey of Hawai`i's ferns to be published in more than 100 years. The book covers endemic, indigenous, and naturalized ferns and fern allies (including rare and endangered taxa), providing dichotomous keys, basionyms and synonyms, technical descriptions and distributions, a glossary, and statistical information. The author addresses unresolved taxonomic problems and offers suggestions for future research. He includes information from Hawaiian folklore and mythology, describes uses of ferns by native Hawaiians, and updates Hawaiian common names. More than 100 line drawings illustrate all 222 species, varieties, and forms, and some hybrids.

The volume is based on extensive fieldwork, studies of herbarium collections worldwide, and consultations with pteridologists, local ecologists, and collectors. It provides the much-needed scientific basis for a new, worldwide appreciation of Hawaiian ferns and fern allies and for major efforts to protect and conserve them. This well-researched and highly readable book will be enthusiastically received by amateur and professional naturalists, fern enthusiasts, and professional botanists.

Daniel D. Palmer, a retired dermatologist, has published articles on Hawaiian ferns in the genera Sadleria and Cibotium and is the author or coauthor of papers on other Hawaiian ferns. Past president of the Hawaiian Botanical Society, he has explored many parts of the main Hawaiian Islands in the course of his research. Hard cover, 325 pages. Published in 2003.


Hawaii’s Fishes; A Guide for Snorkelers, Divers and Aquarists by John Hoover. Recommended retail price $16.95, our price $16.

This useful identification book also provides information on where to dive and snorkel in Hawai’i. Each of the more than 230 fish species is represented by a photograph and a description of their morphology, habits and size. What makes this book different from Jack Randall’s is the discussion about suitability as aquarium fish. If you have an interest in fish-keeping then this is probably the book for you. If you are more interested in an identification guide then I’d opt for Jack Randall’s book. If you are like me, you’ll want both. Soft cover, 183 pages.


Hawai’i, The Birdwatcher’s Guide to by Rick Soehren. Recommended retail price $17.95, our price $17.

This well-designed book looks at more than sixty top birding sites on O’ahu, Kua’I, the Big Island, Maui, Moloka’i and Lana’i. Each spot described offers something different. Site descriptions note activities and nearby points of interest, detailed directions to the site and available facilities. Author Rick Soehren is a biologist and birder who is active in conservation and resource management issues in Hawai’i and California. Soft cover, 215 pages.


Natural History of the Hawaiian Islands, A:  Selected Readings II edited by E. Alison Kay. Published by University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824816595. Recommended retail price $29.

This volume brings together primary source materials on major themes in Hawaiian natural history: the geological processes that have built the Islands; the physical factors that influence the Island's terrestrial ecosystems; the dynamics of the sea that support coral reefs, fish, and mollusks; the peculiarities of animals and plants that have evolved in the Islands and are found nowhere else; and the human impact on the land, plants, and animals. Soft cover, 520 pages. Published in 1994.


Plants and Flowers of Hawai'i by S. H. Sohmer and R. Gustafson. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0824810961. Recommended retail price $24.95.

The Hawaiian Islands, isolated by thousands of miles of ocean for millions of years, possess a unique assemblage of native flowering plants. Of the thousand or so native species found in Hawai`i, Sohmer and Gustafson describe more than 130 indigenous and native species. The book is lavishly illustrated with exquisite color photographs. The vibrant oranges of the Wiliwili blossoms, the brilliant reds of the rare Koki`o, the intense yellow of the hibiscus Ma`ohauhele, the delicate whites of the nocturnal Maiapilo--all the beauty of the native flowering plants is richly displayed in Gustafson's photography. The photographs also provide an easy and accurate means of recognizing a given plant and serve as a permanent record of the Hawaiian Islands' fast-disappearing native flora. Hard cover, 160pages. Published in 1987.


Remains of a Rainbow; Rare Plants and Animals of Hawai'i by David Liittschwager & Susan Middleton. Published by National Geographic. ISBN 0792264126. Recommended retail price $65.00 (and worth every cent!).

Lush and vibrant, the volcanic islands of Hawai'i are home to hundreds of species found nowhere else on Earth: the rare animals and plants celebrated in this glorious book.

More than 140 full-color and black-and-white portraits capture spectacular blooms, vividly patterned tree snails, exquisite iridescent insects, and agile birds. From the rainbow-eye damselfly to the Crested Honeycreeper, the Kamehameha butterfly to the hidden-petaled abutilon, the Mauna Loa vampire bug to the Laysan Finch, all are vulnerable, and many are endangered. The delicate balance of their environment, intact for millions of years, has been upset by invaders from the outside world.

David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton, working in association with the nonprofit organization Environmental Defense, have photographed a tropical paradise unlike any other. Part gallery of natural wonders, part plea for protective action, Remains of a Rainbow is as extraordinary as the species it celebrates. Hard cover, oversized, 264 pages. Published in 2001.


Shells of Hawai’i by E. Alison Kay and Olive Schoenberg-Dole. Recommended retail price $12.95.

World-wide there are over 100,000 mollusk species and 2000 species are known from Hawai’i. Shells of Hawai’i is the first comprehensive guide to these fascinating creatures. The first 28 pages of this slim volume are devoted to information about mollusks and the habitats they occupy in Hawai’i. There used to be many tree snail species in Hawai’i but now many are on the verge of extinction. One poignant photograph shows an adult with its single young. Other memorable photographs are scanning electron microscope sots of the radula of various mollusks. Recommended. Soft cover, 89 pages.

Shore fishes of Hawaii first edition

Shore Fishes of Hawai’i by John Randall. Recommended retail price $19.95.

John (Jack to his friends), is world renowned for his expertise in marine fishes. He appears elsewhere in this catalogue as senior author of Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. No “dry ball” this man. Jack enjoys life as much as he enjoys his fish. Jack has done more dives than most people have had hot dinners and it shows in the authority with which he writes. The photographs illustrating 340 species are all Jack’s. The book is designed for the snorkeler or scuba diver and succeeds admirably. Highly recommended. Soft cover, 216 pages.

Shore fishes of Hawaii cover

Shore Fishes of Hawai’i by John Randall. A Latitude 20 Book University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-3427-2. Recommended retail price $19.95.

First published in 1996, this new edition of Shore Fishes of Hawai‘i updates our knowledge of Hawaiian fishes and has been expanded to include 372 species. All are illustrated by the author’s 475 superb photographs. The most important characteristics to identify a fish are given as well as the size attained and its distribution. Each species account begins with the American common name, followed by the Hawaiian name (when known), and the scientific name. Because it is necessary to use some scientific terminology when giving the principal diagnostic characteristics of families or species of fishes and what they eat, a handy glossary appears at the back of the book before the Index.

475 color illus.

“After getting a B.S. degree in zoology from UCLA in 1950, John Randall sailed his 37-foot ketch to Hawai‘i for doctoral study at the University of Hawai‘i. His first academic position was assistant professor at the University of Miami, Florida. Four years later, he accepted the position of professor of zoology at the University of Puerto Rico as well as director of the Institute of Marine Biology. He returned to Hawai‘i in 1965 as the director of the Oceanic Institute. From 1970 to 2009 he served as the senior ichthyologist with the Bishop Museum. Dr. Randall is the world’s foremost authority on tropical marine fishes. He has authored 745 publications in marine biology, which have included the descriptions of 27 new genera and 686 new species of fishes, ten of which have been discovered in Hawai‘i in the last decade. He has written regional guides to the fishes of the Caribbean Sea, Red Sea, Oman, Maldive Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.” —Dr. Bruce A. Carlson, science officer, Georgia Aquarium

[Next]  Travel

 Hawai'i Fiction, song and drama

[Up]  Hawai'i
[Home]  Home Page
[Mail]  Send E-Mail to Pacific Island Books
[Contents]  Pacific Island Books Contents


Thanks for visiting Pacific Island Books

Last modified on Monday, December 27, 2010