Creatures Found on Tern Island

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(they're mostly birds)



  • 37 plant species live on Tern Island. 
  • 30 of these are not native and were introduced by humans purposely or accidentally.                
  • The native plants are small grasses and herbs, and the introduced ones included some trees like those that produce coconuts.                      
  • Only two reptiles live on Tern.  The green sea turtle nests there, in numbers over 1,000 each year. 
  • The mourning gecko is a small lizard.  It probably hitchhiked on a boat to Tern Island during WWII activities on the island.



     Island Residents 

black-footed albatross 
Laysan albatross 
Bonin petrel
Bulwer's petrel 
wedge-tailed shearwater 
Christmas shearwater 
red-tailed tropicbird 
masked booby  
red-footed booby  
great frigatebird  
gray-backed tern 
sooty tern 
black noddy 
brown noddy
white tern 

Migrants Passing Through

northern fulmar
Herald petrel
Murphy's petrel
sooty shearwater
red-billed tropicbird
white-tailed tropicbird
cattle egret
mallard duck
gadwall duck
pintail duck
American coot
golden plover
semipalmated plover
bristle-thighed curlew
wandering tattler
ruddy turnstone
ring-billed gull
western gull
glaucous-winged gull
Franklin's gull
northern mockingbird


Marine mammals: bottle-nosed dolphins and Hawaiian spinner dolphins visit the lagoon around Tern.  The Hawaiian monk seal is an endangered species that sleeps and breeds on Tern and finds food out at sea.

Four land mammal species have been introduced.  Dogs and cats have occasionally been around as pets.  Pigs were introduced onto East Island, another island in the French Frigate Shoals group, but they did not last long.  Humans are the fourth introduction.

This page was last updated on July 27, 1998 09:02 AM