Most migratory bird species in the United States are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). This Act prohibits take of protected species, their nests and eggs except as permitted by regulation. Some of these species are also protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Three species of albatross occur in the North Pacific and are species of concern for pelagic fisheries. Laysan and black-footed albatross
populations are believed to be stable where as the short-tailed albatross is listed as endangered (E) under the Endangered Species Act. For more information, visit the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species website at

  • Albatrosses
    • Black-Footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes)
    • Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis)
    • Short-Tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus)
  • Shearwaters
    • Christmas Shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis)
    • Short-Tailed Shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris)
    • Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus)
    • Wedge-Tailed Shearwater (Puffinus pacificus)
  • Other Seabirds (partial list)
    • Boobies
    • Frigates
    • Noddies
    • Petrels
    • Terns
    • Tropicbirds


  • Black-Footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes)

    • Breeds primarily (96%) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (approximately 62,000 breeding pairs). Remaining pairs breed on
      three outlying islands of Japan. The species disperses widely
      over the North Pacific Ocean, with occasional records in the
      Southern Hemisphere. Total population estimate: 300,000. For more information on Black-Footed Albatross, click here.

  • Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis)

    • More than 99% of Laysan albatross nesting sites (558,000 breeding pairs) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Ranges throughout the North
      Pacific between 20 deg. N and 58 deg. N. Total population
      estimate: 2.4 million. For more information on Laysan Albatross, click here.

  • Short-Tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus)

    • Breeds primarily on the Japanese island of Toroshima (approximately 370 breeding pairs). Occasional sightings and a few nesting attempts at Midway Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Rare sightings on Laysan Island, Kure Atoll, French Frigate Shoals, and Pearl and Hermes Reef. Marine range covers most of the North Pacific Ocean, with some records in the Sea of Okhotsk. Total population estimate: 2,000 with an annual growth rate of approximately 7.8%. For more information on Short-Tailed Albatross, click here.

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  • Christmas Shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis)

    • Also known as Christmas Island Shearwater or Black Shearwater. Nests on
      islands of the Hawaiian Leeward Chain, Marshall Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands, Marquesas Island, Johnston Atoll, Rapa Island in the Austral Group, the Gambier Islands, Ile de Paques in the Society Islands, the Pitcairn Group and on Easter Island.

  • Short-Tailed Shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris)

    • In summer and autumn, ranges south of Australia to 65 deg S and through the South Indian Ocean west to 60 deg E. In winter, most migrate to the North Pacific. Breeds on many islands off Australia, especially off the southeast coast, including Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. Numbers apparently stable or increasing. Total population estimate: 23 million. For more information on Short-Tailed Shearwater, click here.

  • Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus)

    • Breeds annually, November-April, mainly in New Zealand region, on islands of South Chile and Cape Horn, and on the Falkland Islands. A few in
      Australia (New South Wales and Tasmania). In autumn, moves into
      the Pacific north to 5 deg. S off Ecuador and in to the Southeast Indian Ocean to 60 deg. E south of Kerguelen. In winter most migrate to North Pacific and North Atlantic. On return, common south of 45 deg S off
      Argentina and Africa. A few in Southern Ocean in all months. Numbers declining in North Pacific and New Zealand area. Total population estimate: 23 million. For more information on Sooty Shearwater, click here.

  • Wedge-Tailed Shearwater (Puffinus pacificus)

    • Most abundant shearwater in warm waters. In the U.S. Pacific waters, breeds in Hawaii Archipelago, from Kure Atoll to Johnston Atoll, one of
      the U.S. Pacific Remote Island Areas. Breeds on hundreds of other islands in the Pacific. Largely sedentary. Total population estimate worldwide: 5 million.

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Other Seabirds (partial list)

  • Boobies
    • Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra)
    • Red-Footed Booby (Sula sula)
    • Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) 
  • Frigates
    • Great Frigate Bird (Fregata minor)
    • Lesser Frigate Bird (Fregata ariel)
  • Noddies
    • Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus pileatus)
    • Black Noddy (Anous minutus melanogenys)
    • Lesser Noddy (Anous tenuirostris)
  • Petrels
    • Bonin Petrel (Pterodroma hypoleuca)
  • Terns
    • Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)
    • Gray-Backed Tern (Sterna lunata)
    • Sooty Tern (Sterna fuscata)
    • White Tern (Gygis alba rothschildi)
  • Tropicbirds
    • Red-Tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda)
    • White-Tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus)