Wildlife & Habitat

RF booby

The second largest red-footed booby colony in the world is found on Palmyra, which also hosts significant populations of brown boobies, masked boobies, and black noddies. 

  • Birds

    Red footed booby head

    Sooty terns, red- and white-tailed tropicbirds, several species of boobies, great frigatebirds, and white terns commonly nest on Palmyra. More than 200 bristle-thighed curlews, whose worldwide population estimate is only 6,000 individuals, spend their winters on Palmyra. 

    Learn More
  • Mammals

    Dolphin thumbnail

    Pacific bottle-nosed dolphins, spinner dolphins, melonhead whales frequent the waters of the Refuge. 

  • Reptiles

    Green turtle

    Threatened green and endangered hawksbill turtles are found within the lagoon and waters surrounding the atoll.

  • Fish

    Goat fish

    Over 400 species of fish.

  • Invertebrates

    Coconut crab thumbnail

    In addition to stony corals and giant clams, large populations of the world's largest land invertebrate, the coconut crab, inhabit the forests along with other crabs.  

  • Habitat


    Palmyra's native vegetation is lush, supporting one of the largest remaining undisturbed stands of Pisonia beach forest in the Pacific, including native varieties of ferns and shrubs. Palmyra's rich intertidal sand- and mudflats provide attractive resting and feeding grounds for migratory seabirds and shorebirds.