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Best National Parks for Wildlife Spotting


Photo Resource Hawaii/Alamy

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, HI

Isolation, a volcanic landscape, and a tropical climate have given this 323,400-acre park an unsurpassed number of endemic species; more than 90 percent of the plants and animals here are found nowhere else on earth. The park is best for spotting birds, including the nēnē (the state bird, a goose), ‘io (Hawaiian hawk), honeycreeper, and white-tailed tropic bird (which nests in the walls of volcanoes). Other highlights include carnivorous caterpillars, giant Hawaiian darners (the country's largest dragonflies, with a wingspan of about six inches), and hawksbill turtles.

Viewing Tip: Nectar feeders, like green-yellow ‘amakihi and bright-red ‘i‘iwi honeycreepers, flock toward flowers—but since they stop to sip only fleetingly, you'll need to be patient and alert to spy them.

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