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NEWELL'S SHEARWATER } Puffinus newelli

RANGE: Tropical Pacific Ocean; breeds on the Hawaiian Islands

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

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

The Newell’s shearwater is a threatened seabird that resides in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is known to breed only within the mountainous terrain of the southeastern Hawaiian Islands. Locally known as the 'a'o for the moan-like call it emits when in its burrow, the bird is small shearwater, with a glossy black top contrasted by a striking white underside. Unfortunately, this beautiful bird is on a collision course with human development. During the fledging season in Kaua'i, critically imperiled Newell’s shearwaters 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 Kaua'i, an important seabird flyway. Trapped in the lights’ glare, the confused birds circle repeatedly until they fall to the ground from exhaustion or strike the resort’s buildings. Light pollution from resorts is the leading cause of deaths and injuries of imperiled seabirds in Kaua’i, while bird collisions with power lines are another cause of mortality. In spring 2010, the Center filed notice of intent to sue the St. Regis Princeville Resort — as well as taking on the Kaua'i Island Utility.

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