Get to Know the Kolea Bird

By April 23, 2019Culture, History, Kolea

Part of the attraction and charm of visiting the Big Island of Hawaii is learning about local wildlife and customs. During your stay, you are likely to hear numerous references to the kolea. A slight, small bird that frequents Hawaii over the winter months, it is the namesake for our Kolea vacation rentals. Guests are often curious about this tiny creature and how it fits into local lore.

Fascinating Facts About the Kolea Bird

References to the kolea bird are common throughout Hawaii. Otherwise known as Pacific Golden Plovers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services states that they are generally less than 10 inches long and weigh just under five ounces. Similar to many of the visitors to the island, koleas spend half of their year living in significantly colder climates.

Koleas frequently breed in Alaska or the Arctic. Breeding adults have black legs with gold spots and black patches on their crowns, backs, and wings, which provides camouflage from predators. They form shallow, scraped nests along hillsides and ridges, typically laying four eggs over the breeding cycle. Both parents participate in the hatching process, which takes just under a month to complete.

Young plovers are quite agile and able to run around soon after they hatch, prompting parents to move to more shrubby and grassy areas. Adult koleas have a unique way to protect their young. When a predator approaches, the parent will squawk and stagger around, acting as if its wings were broken. Once the predator is lured away from the young koleas, who are quickly ushered to safety, the parent then flies away.

Kolea at Waikoloa Beach Resort

One of the things koleas are most well known for is their navigation skills and their ability to travel extraordinary distances during migration. For centuries, they have made their way to Hawaii and other Pacific Islands throughout the months of October to early March. The fact that they are seasonal visitors who come from a long way away raises comparisons to our human visitors, who often flock to the islands during the winter season.

When not breeding, koleas take on a different appearance. Look for a bird with a black underbelly and a bright yellow face and breast. You can commonly spot koleas in grassy fields or any open place. The name ‘kolea’ is an imitation of the bird’s flight call and in Hawaiian, it means ‘one who takes and leaves’. An old Hawaiian proverb states, “Ai no ke kolea a momona hoi i Kahiki!” Loosely translated, it means, “The kolea eats until he is fat, and then returns to the land from which he came.”

Vacation Rentals at Kolea in Waikoloa

Whether you are looking to escape colder temperatures on the Big Island or simply wish to experience all that Hawaii has to offer, Kolea at Waikoloa Beach Resort is the place to stay. Call or contact Waikoloa Vacations Rentals online to find out more about the amenities we offer and to book your trip.