Birds of Midway Atoll
Laysan Duck / Anas laysanensis
The endangered Laysan duck is considered the rarest native waterfowl in the United States. They once were widespread across the Hawaiian Islands, but by 1860, they ceased to exist anywhere except Laysan Island, part of the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. As part of an effort to ensure recovery of this endangered species, 42 wild ducks made a 750-mile Pacific voyage from Laysan to Midway Atoll in 2004 and 2005. The re-establishment of a second population at Midway reduces the risk of extinction from a catastrophic event stripping Laysan Island, such as a hurricane or avian disease. The translocations followed extensive habitat restoration at Midway. The Midway population has grown steadily with the population expanding to approximately 300 ducks in 2008.
The ducks are primarily insect feeders, but may also feed on leaves and seeds.
Nests are built on the ground under thick vegetation where four to six pale ivory eggs are laid.