Hawai‘i has two species of owls, the introduced barn owl and the endangered Hawaiian owl or
Unlike the other common Barn Owl, also found in Hawai’i, the pueo is diurnal, more active during daylight, and nests on the ground. The pueo’s modern diet consists of introduced rodents, rats, mice, and small mongooses. Before rodents arrived, pueo is thought to have feasted on the small Hawaiian rail, a flightless bird that is now extinct. Even though the main diet of the pueo is mostly rodents and mongoose, the fact that the pueo is a ground nesting owl means the eggs and young, ironically, are often raided by rodents and mongoose. Pueo lays between 3 to 6 eggs over a span of several months resulting in babies being born at different times. A nest will often have all ages, baby to adult, in the nest at the same time. Owlets begin to fly at about 6 weeks of age.
Over the last ten years, only two pueo sighting have been reported in the Ka‘ena Point Natural Area Reserve. As pueo are territorial and active during the day. Unfortunately, the pueo is considered to be very rare on O‘ahu. Like seabirds, pueo nest on the ground and are vulnerable to cats, dogs and mongoose. A predator-proof fence would provide one of the only safe nesting areas for pueo in all the Hawaiian Islands. Pueo naturally used to eat mostly birds and insects prior to the arrival of humans, so by improving seabird habitat, pueo will have more of its natural food source.
Fun Fact - The Pueo - Hawaiian Owl (Asio flammeus sandwicensis) – is considered sacred by many Hawaiians. It is a widely recognized Hawaiian ancestral guardian known as `aumakua. These birds are believed to protect individuals from harm, and even death.