The Refuge was established in 1976 for the purpose of providing habitat for endangered Hawaiian waterbirds. Further expansion was authorized in 2005 for the purposes of providing additional habitat for endangered waterbirds, migratory shorebirds, waterfowl, and seabirds.
Their pink, long legs are almost as long as the bird’s body and are one of their identifying features.
The population of ‘alae ke‘oke‘o ranges between 1,500 and 3,000 individuals and lived in all the main Hawaiian islands, except Kaho‘olawe.
The ‘alae ‘ula is known as the most secretive native waterbird. In Hawaiian legend, these birds were thought to have brought fire from the gods to the Hawaiian people.
‘Auku‘u are a cosmopolitan species that breeds on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.
The koloa maoli is an endangered waterfowl endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The former range of the koloa includes all the main Hawaiian Islands except Lana‘i and Kaho‘olawe.
Males perform aerial displays known as a sky dancing display to prospective females.
The ‘ua‘u kani (Wedge-tailed shearwater) is the only seabird currently known to nest on the Refuge.
James Campbell NWR plays an important role in providing wintering grounds for shorebirds in the Hawaiian Islands. Thirty-five species of shorebirds have been recorded on the Refuge.
For centuries, migratory ducks, geese, and other waterfowl have wintered on the Hawaiian Islands from September-May.
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In Hawaiian legend, these birds were thought to have brought fire from the gods to the Hawaiian people.