Midway Atoll's three small islands provide a virtually predator-free safe haven for the world's largest albatross colony encircled by a ring of coral reef that hosts an amazing variety of unique wildlife including green sea turtles, spinner dolphins, and endangered Hawaiian monk seals among an unprecedented rate of endemic fish.
Twenty bird species native to the Hawaiian archipelago - nearly 3.5 million individual birds - nest on virtually every square foot of available habitat on Midway's three islands. Winter visitors and an occasional rare bird seek refuge on Midway as a critical sustenance link during their ocean travels.
Endangered Hawaiian monk seals that pup and rear their young on Midway's beaches and nearshore waters. A resident pod of nearly 250 spinner dolphins that spend each day within Midway's protected lagoon waters and typically exit the lagoon each evening to feed in deeper waters.
Threatened green turtles haul out to rest on island shores - Green turtles are most common offshore of Sand Island's beaches, but they are seen by divers and fishermen throughout the lagoon and surrounding nearshore waters.
The waters surrounding Midway Atoll are a complex community of over 250 species of coral reef fish and invertebrates. Get a complete listing of the fish of Midway Atoll by following the link below.
A huge diversity of marine invertebrates inhabit the lagoon and surrounding waters, including algae, corals, worms, snails, and seashells. To get a better understanding of this array of marine life, download our list using the link below.
Approximately 249 plant taxa have been reported on Midway from the time it was first discovered through 1992. Of these, 119 taxa were known only from cultivation, 104 taxa had become naturalized from either intentional or accidental introductions, and 24 taxa were native to Midway.
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During the breeding season, adult tropicbirds (see one pictured above over Midway lagoon) fly in a group around one another, swinging their tail streamers from side to side for several minutes to attract the female bird. Their courtship displays are complex and consist of flying backwards, vertically, and in large, vertical circles.