Flying Creatures in Hawaii

I have encountered several sighting reports from Hawaii this year (mostly either email or blog-post comment I’ve received from eyewitnesses). But the encounter described in a post of the s8intcom blog now deserves attention and comparison with other sightings in Hawaii.

Two soldiers were looking up at the night sky, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, for a strange creature was flying through some scattered thin clouds. Both men could see from the way it flew through those clouds that it was at about the same altitude as a jet that had recently flown through those same clouds. The distance estimate that gave them allowed for a size estimate: wingspan of about twenty feet.

This was late in 1999, in what the soldiers called the “Kahuku range,” on the northeast side of Oahu. A bright full moon illuminated the flying creature, which had a long tail about 25% of the “size of its body,” which I assume refers to the length, which one soldier estimated was 8-10 feet. That would make the tail at least two feet long, possibly even a little over three feet. Of course all this is assuming the distance estimate was accurate; the flying creature may have been closer or further away.

The soldier who reported the encounter was impressed by the gracefulness of the creature’s flight. It flapped its wings only about twice per minute, as it hovered and dived through the clouds. Both men were impressed with its resemblance to a “pterodactyl,” although one of them held out the possibility that the tail may have had feathers.

Now compare that flying creature with those described in other reports from Hawaii:

West side of the Big Island of Hawaii

photo by - west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii

Sighting in 2008

Four years ago, a woman and her nephew saw an apparent pterosaur on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii, in a subdivision overlooking the Kona International Airport at Keahole. Both eyewitnesses described the flying creature:

  • Wingspan of 3-4 feet
  • Long sharp beak
  • Featherless wings, more bat-like than bird-like
  • Coloring somewhat “fleshy” or brownish-pink-gray
  • Long featherless tail distinct from its long legs
  • The tail had a “diamond” on its tip
  • The creature flew only about 80 feet above their heads
  • It was gliding more than flapping

Sightings in 2012

Three sightings in Kona (Big Island of Hawaii) by members of one family—that makes this area a prime location for sightings, deserving serious study and watchfulness.

  • Wingspans of about five to six feet
  • Dark color

More details are needed from these eyewitnesses in Kona.


I received an email, in mid-2013, from James McDonagh:

I am glad to find this website that shows others have seen something similar to what we saw– we thought we saw a pterodactyl on the Big Island of Hawaii!

We were driving back home after visiting the Mauna Keya Visitor Center . . . It was about 9:45 pm on Sunday 6/23/13, we were traveling westbound on Sandler road maybe 5 minutes past the Mauna Keya Access Road.  It was a great full moon that night . . .

As the road undulated, our headlights tipped skyward, then down toward ground before leveling.  It was at moment when pointed down that we saw it. . . . this huge bird-like animal was flapping its wings and headed right towards our large rented SUV.  The headlights had only been on it for a moment, so I did not see detail of color or other features– we were shocked to see something so huge headed right for us. It seemed to be struggling to gain altitude like a giant 747 trying to take off.  Because it flew directly over our windshield it gave a good method to estimate its size and all three of us estimated it at 10 feet wing span.

We are a family of five but only my wife (front passenger) and 11 year old son (middle rear seat) and I saw the animal.  The other two could [not see it because of] the seats in front of them.  All three of us joked simultaneously, “holy cow that was a pterodactyl!!”

At the time we just assumed such a large bird was native to Hawaii, so we did not think we had seen anything unusual to Hawaiians but certainly it was the biggest flying bird we had ever seen.  It was so striking I had to look on the Internet but so far I don’t find any mention of a known species of bird anywhere close to this size and instead found this website.  I hope I find out what this was (is) and whatever it is I would love to see it again!

I swear I am an educated, sober family man on vacation.  All three of us saw it clearly and with the same perception of size and its similarity to what we’ve seen of pterodactyl . . . We’ve never seen a UFO, big foot or loch ness, and we’re not inclined to make something like this up.  We will be interested to learn anything more about this animal.


Pterodactyl in Hawaii

This “bird” had very long angular wings that swept out and away from its body. A long body and either a long neck with a pointed head or a very elongated head on a shorter neck it was hard to distinguish that feature.

Flying Creature

But “giant bat” is not really a reasonable explanation. In Papua New Guinea, the Flying Fox fruit bat is large . . . but that bat is huge only in comparison with most of the bats. The “ropen” is much larger, with . . . a wingspan [sometimes more than] twenty-five feet.

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7 thoughts on “Flying Creatures in Hawaii

  1. I was sitting on the beach at the Hilton in Waikiki and happened to look up and see a group of about 10 birds way up in the sky. They were very large and were flying pretty high like a plane. My husband and my friend also saw them. Didn’t think about taking a picture as we were just trying to figure out what the heck the were. They looked just like an outline of a pterydactyl and they were just gliding, didn’t notice any of them flap there wings. I know they were very large we were trying to compare them in size with the planes flying over. I had been on a hike the previous weekend and observed the albatross flying and they were alot bigger than that. It was just this past Friday March 23.

  2. I witness a unknown flying creature flying above me at honouliuli on the island of oahu. I was with a bunch of my friends. As my friends chit chat I noticed this unknown thing flying above head. I kinda hollered and caught my friends attention and then they all seen the same thing I was seeing so I knew I wasn’t going crazy.

  3. I am grateful for all of the eyewitnesses who report their sightings through this blog. I am sure that many persons who have seen such flying creatures do not report it, for various reasons. I am also grateful for those who include a correct email address (with correct spelling) in their report, so that I can communicate with them. Many eyewitnesses do that, so thank you. I do not reveal any email address, so it is safe. I also do not reveal any real names without permission of the person. Thank you.

  4. I just attempted to post a detailed eyewitness account of a sighting of a pterodactyl-like flying animal on big island of Hawaii, and when I posted it I got an error message pertaining to spam. Now I cannot retrieve the carefully written post, so I am not going to try again. If someone gets this and wants to know what I saw, send an email.

  5. i saw the same thing in kona and immediately thought of a pterosaur too, then a couple hours later i found out it was a frigate bird and once i googled it, i could tell that was definitely it. is that what you guys all saw also?

  6. In some coastal areas of the world, the sighting of an oceanic Frigate bird can cause some eyewitnesses to believe that they saw a pterosaur or a ropen. There are several ways to determine if that is what was observed. But we need to be careful before jumping to the conclusion that somebody has seen a Frigate bird because the sighting was in the same area in which another eyewitness saw that oceanic bird.

    Many eyewitnesses see a long neck, but the Frigate bird appears to have no neck at all. In addition, many eyewitnesses see a distinct “diamond” shaped structure at the end of a long tail, but that is not what is seen on the oceanic bird. A few persons see small sharp teeth in the beak of the apparent pterosaur, but Frigate birds have no teeth.

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