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Lehua Bird Sanctuary, Niihau

Lehua Crater, off the northern coast of Niihau, is home to one of the largest and most diverse seabird breeding colonies in the main Hawaiian Islands. At Holo Holo Charters we are privileged to be able to aid in important research by taking biologists and conservationists to Lehua for projects including restoration of native bird and plant populations.

  • Over 25,000 pairs of at least 8 seabird species nest on Lehua Islet, Niihau Bird Sanctuary
  • U.S. Geological Survey is studying the at-sea movements and habitat use of Kauai birds nesting on Lehua, as well as other islands in Hawai’i
  • Data will be used to understand foraging ecology and to identify important marine habitat for seabirds around Hawai’i
Niihau tour
  • Research teams spend 1 week living and working on Lehua several times during the breeding season (March-November)
  • Miniature GPS devices are temporarily attached to nesting birds; GPS tags record locations while birds are on foraging trips to feed their chicks
  • Red-footed and Brown boobies go on daily foraging trips and return to the colony every night. They travel up to 150 miles from Lehua They primarily catch flying fish and squid by plunging into the water at high speeds
  • Red-tailed Tropicbirds also plunge dive to catch their prey, but their foraging trips can last over a week and they travel up to 300 miles from Lehua
  • USGS will continue studying these species in 2016