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Bird Checklists of the United States

Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Johnston Island

GIF-Picture of a Wedge-tailed shearwater burrow. Wedge-tailed Shearwater

The wedge-tailed shearwater is the largest of the local shearwaters and has a distinctly wedge-shaped tail and flesh-colored legs and feet. A single egg is laid in a chamber at the end of a burrow that may be 6 feet long. Burrows are dug with the bill and feet and reexcavated and renovated before each breeding season. Three to four thousand of these birds use the natural portion of Sand Island as a nesting site, for the dense roots of the Lepturus grass support the burrow walls. Their unique moaning calls at night can give the colonies an eerie character.

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