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  • Brown booby rotator

    Brown Booby

    This bird has a long body, long neck, and long tail with narrow, pointed wings.

  • Great frigate bird and chick rotator

    Great Frigatebird and Chick

    With the largest wing area to body mass ratio of any bird, they are wonderfully adapted for an aerial lifestyle.

  • Red-footed booby rotator

    Red-footed Booby

    This bird has a long, pointed, pale gray bill, a long pointed tail, long pointed wings, and bright red feet.

Special Use Permits

Special Use Permits

Special Use Permits enable the public to engage in wildlife-related activities on a National Wildlife Refuge which would otherwise be prohibited.

Special Use Permits

About the Complex

Pacific Reefs

Howland Island NWR, in addition to nine other refuges, makes up the Pacific Reefs Complex.

Howland Island is managed as part of the Pacific Reefs.

Learn more about the complex 

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS  

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What's New

  • Visiting the Refuge

    The refuge is is closed to public access. However, limited public access has been authorized in the past. Refuge access is managed through the issuance of a Special Use Permit when the activity is deemed compatible and appropriate with the purposes of refuge establishment.

  • Hui Panala‘au: Hawaiian Colonists in the Pacific

    Colonizing the islands was a harrowing experience that claimed the lives of three young men: Carl Kahalewai who died of appendicitis in 1938, and Joseph Keliihananui and Richard “Dickey” Whaley who were killed during an attack on the island on December 8, 1941.

    Learn more
Page Photo Credits — USFWS
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2015
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