Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Johnston Island, Pacific Islands
Of all the wildlife at Johnston, the birds are the most conspicuous, if only because humans spend most of their time out of the water. Most of the birds that occur at Johnston are seabirds. Seabirds obtain their food from the sea and generally possess webbed feet and beaks adapted for feeding on fish and squid. They also have characteristic internal salt glands that make it possible for them to drink sea water. Long narrow wings efficient for soaring are found in many species.
Seabirds are among the longest lived birds in the world, and life spans in excess of 30 years are not uncommon for some species. Compared to other, they produce fewer young over their lifetime, and the young take longer to mature--up to 7 years for some species. Many seabirds mate for life, and both males and females incubate, brood, and feed their young.
Seabirds evolved on islands where natural predators were absent, therefore, they lack a well developed fear of people or predators. Their long lives and the ease with which the chicks and adults can be captured for banding and marking make them ideal subjects for long term studies. Seabird population numbers and movements can quickly reflect changes in the ocean environment.
Other migratory birds occurring at Johnston Atoll include species that breed in Alaska, Canada, the mainland United States, and Asia, and migrate to the South and Central Pacific for the winter. These include many shorebirds and occasional waterfowl, hawks. owls, and egrets. Some species like the bristle-thighed curlews and Pacific golden plovers may make a 6,000 mile round trip voyage between their South Pacific wintering areas and arctic breeding areas.
Relative abundance is coded as follows:
a - Abundant (numerous common species)
c - Common (certain to be seen in suitable habitat)
u - Uncommon (present, but not certain to be seen)
r - Rare (seen only a few times a year or not at all)
x - Accidental (not normally expected)
1 - Burrow
2 - Rock crevice
3 - Ground
4 - Shrub or tree
5 - Branch or ledge
6 - Under vegetation
RESIDENT NESTING SEABIRDS ABUNDANCE NESTING HABITAT ADULT WINGSPAN(IN) ___ Bulwer's petrel u 2,6 23 ___ Wedge-tailed shearwater c 1 38 ___ Christmas shearwater u 2,6 32 ___ White-tailed tropicbird u 6 38 ___ Red-tailed tropicbird a 2,3 44 ___ Brown booby a 3 54 ___ Red-footed booby c 4 40 ___ Masked booby u 3 60 ___ Great frigatebird c 4 90 ___ Gray-backed tern c 3 29 ___ Sooty tern a 3 34 ___ Brown noddy a 3,4 33 ___ Black noddy c 4 29 ___ White tern c 5 28
NON-NESTING, NONRESIDENT SEABIRDS ABUNDANCE ADULT WINGSPAN(IN) ___ Black-footed albatross r 89 ___ Laysan albatross r 82 ___ Townsend's shearwater r 13 ___ Phoenix petrel x 14 ___ Sooty storm petrel x 22 ___ Red-billed tropicbird r 24 ___ Lesser frigatebird x 90 ___ Laughing gull x 41 ___ Franklin's gull x 35 ___ Herring gull x 52 ___ Glaucous winged gull x 53 ___ Elegant tern x 37 ___ Blue-gray noddy r 24
MIGRATORY SHOREBIRDS ABUNDANCE ___ Black-bellied plover x ___ Pacific golden plover c ___ Semipalmated plover x ___ Lesser yellowlegs x ___ Willet x ___ Wandering tattler u ___ Spotted sandpiper x ___ Bristle-thighed curlew u ___ Ruddy turnstone c ___ Sanderling u ___ Western sandpiper x ___ Pectoral sandpiper x ___ Sharp-tailed sandpiper x ___ Buff-breasted sandpiper x ___ Ruff x ___ Short-billed dowitcher x ___ Wilson's phalarope x
ACCIDENTALS, STRAGGLERS, WATERFOWL ABUNDANCE ___ Peregrine falcon x ___ Short-eared owl x ___ Cattle egret r ___ Northern pintail r ___ American wigeon r ___ Northern shoveler x ___ Skylark x ___ Japanese white-eye x ___ Northern harrier x ___ Mallard x ___ European tufted duck x ___ Black brant x ___ White-fronted goose x
Refuge Manager P.O. Box 396 APO San Francisco, CA 96858 Phone: (808) 621-3044This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995. Bird list of Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated.This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995. Bird list of Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. http://www.npwrc.usgs.govjohnatol.htm (Version 30DEC2002).