Foraging Ecology of Two Hawaiian Seabird Guilds

We completed a two year study of the breeding biology and at-sea distribution of four species of seabirds on Lehua, Hawaii.  Lehua is an uninhabited island off of Kauai that is undergoing restoration of native flora and fauna following the removal of introduced terrestrial mammals.  Our study involves the use of micro-electronic devices for at-sea tracking of wedge-tailed shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus), red-footed boobies (Sula sula) - “tuna birds” where foraging is often associated with schools of tuna - and brown boobies (Sula leucogaster), red-tailed tropicbirds (Phaethon rubricauda) - which generally do not forage in association with tuna schools - to help understand the population dynamics of these species and what potential conservation threats they face when away from Lehua.  We were also fortunate enough to capture two contrasting years of El Niño vs. La Niña influenced breeding seasons, which had notable affects on diet and even nesting density for some species.


Pacific Rim Conservation, Honolulu, Hawaii

San Jose State University, San Jose, California

Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu,


Publications and Reports:

Young, L.C., K.D., Hyrenbach, R.M. Suryan, S.A. Shaffer, 2011. Foraging ecology of two Hawaiian seabird guilds: A comparative study of tuna birds and solitary feeders. Final report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Honolulu, Hawaii.