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Palmyra's thick vegetation provides forage and shelter for 29 species of migratory birds. Because the atoll is the only nesting area within 450,000 square miles of ocean, it is home to more than a million nesting seabirds, including large colonies of sooty terns.
Other nesting seabirds include the world's second largest colony of red-footed boobies, brown boobies, masked boobies, white terns and the rare red-tailed tropic bird.
Palmyra is also a regular rest stop for wintering migratory birds such as the Pacific golden plover and bristle-thighed curlew. Both species migrate from Alaska to Hawai'i, French Polynesia and other areas of the Pacific.
With only 7,000 individuals known to exist, the curlew is a "species of concern." Several hundred annually winter on Palmyra, traveling 4,000 miles from Alaska non-stop.
Other Palmyra bird species:
- White-tailed tropicbird (Breeding)
- Great frigatebird (Breeding)
- Lesser frigatebird (Visitor)
- Brown noddy (Breeding)
- Black noddy (Breeding)
- Sharp-tailed sandpiper (Wintering)
- Sanderling (Wintering)
- Ruddy ternstone (Wintering)
- Wandering tattler (Wintering)
- Audubon's shearwater (visitor)