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HAWAIIAN PETREL } Pterodroma sandwichensis

RANGE: Central Pacific; breeds on the Hawaiian Islands

STATUS: This bird is classified as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

THREATS: Predation by introduced mammals, development, light pollution, collision with power lines, ocean pollution and disturbance of breeding grounds

This mysterious, rarely seen petrel is among the ocean's most wide-ranging marine species. Locally known as 'ua'u for its haunting, nocturnal call, the bird is an attractive, large, dark gray-brown and white petrel, easily distinguished by its prominent black hood and striking white forehead. While at one time this petrel’s nesting grounds ranged throughout the Hawaiian Islands, threats to its nesting habitat have restricted it to five high-elevation locations, two of which are in jeopardy. The species’ limited distribution and decline primarily result from predation by introduced mammals and urbanization. During the fledging season in Kauai, critically imperiled Hawaiian petrels heading to sea are attracted to bright lights in and around the lights of luxury resorts, which are situated on coastal bluffs on the north shore of Kauai, an important seabird flyway. Light pollution from resorts is the leading cause of deaths and injuries of imperiled seabirds in Kauai, while bird collisions with power lines are another cause of mortality — and the Center is working hard to save them from both threats.

Photo by Hadoram Shirihai, contributed by Photographic Handbook of Birds of the World, Jornvall & Shirihai, A & C Black, London