Hawaiian Petrel | Maui Ocean Center

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Hawaiian Petrel

The Hawaiian petrel is a wonderful but endangered seabird. Their global population is estimated at around 20,000 individuals. (Endangered species earn this title if the trending data shows a greater than 20 percent chance of extinction within 20 years.) There are around 1,000 breeding pairs in Haleakalā National Park on Maui.

 

These birds boast a striking dark grey-black plumage with a white “collar,” forehead, and underbelly. Hawaiian petrels are rather secretive birds, only becoming truly vocal during breeding season.

 

If you’re around these birds at night, you’ll hear their distinctive calls to defend their territory.

Feeding and Habitat

The Hawaiian petrel will carve out their homes at higher elevations and are found on most of the Hawaiian islands (not Oahu). They dig burrows in dense, inland forests and arid, cold regions. This flexibility allows them to escape predators. 

 

At night, they transform into opportunistic hunters, primarily targeting squid and lanternfish. They won’t hesitate to snatch up other prey along the way either.

 

 

Conservation Efforts

There are a multitude of threats that have garnered an Endangered tag for the Hawaiian petrel. Poaching, damage to their higher-elevation forest by non-native ungulates (hooved mammals), predation by introduced animals (feral cats, mongoose, rats, and pigs), and disorientation from artificial lights all play a role. Human development has also contributed to habitat loss.

 

Researchers conduct population surveys and manage their habitat as part of the conservation efforts. They work to reduce the impact of artificial lights and control predator populations, while also emphasizing public education initiatives that raise awareness about the Hawaiian petrel.

hawaiian Name

‘Ua’u

Scientific Name

Pterodroma Sandwichensis

Status

Endangered

Classification

Endemic

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