Swains Island is an uninhabited 210 ha former copra plantation 360 km North of American Samoa. The island, dominated with coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), was last surveyed in 1976. The goal of this 17–26 September 2012 survey was to identify the bird species present, and document relative abundance, distribution, and breeding activity across the island. Two shoreline surveys recorded a seabird community dominated by Black Noddy (Anous minutus), White Tern (Gygis alba), and Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus), while the reef flat community was dominated by Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) and Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana). Inland surveys revealed four roosting or breeding species, including Black Noddy, White Tern, Brown Noddy, and Red-footed Booby (Sula sula). Seabird densities were highest in the northwest section of the island, furthest from former settlements. Although feral pigs (Sus scrofa) were recently eradicated, feral cats (Felis cattus) remain present, and Pacific rats (Rattus exulans) were observed over all island sections, likely posing threats to seabird populations. Predator control and restoration of preferred nesting tree species would likely increase seabird populations.

You do not currently have access to this content.