The endangered Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis) is endemic to the main Hawaiian Islands where it nests in underground burrows surrounded by vegetation that varies greatly from island to island. Information regarding island-specific nest site selection and habitat characteristics is important when considering the management needs of the species, including control of invasive plants and protection from introduced predators. Extensive search efforts, using nocturnal vocalization and visual surveys, resulted in locating 71 nesting burrows on the Island of Lāna'i. Logistic regression was used to examine the influence of elevation, planar curvature, percent slope, canopy cover, and vegetation type on nest site locations. The top model in predicting Hawaiian Petrel nest site selection was influenced by increasing slopes, an understory dominated by native vegetation, and open canopy. The top model was supported by a model weight (wi) of 0.53, with the second model holding most of the remaining weight (wi = 0.19) and including elevation as a predictor. Native understory vegetation, dominated by Uluhe ferns (Dicranopteris linearis and Diplopterygium pinnatum), may provide some protection from introduced mammalian predators. Using high resolution imagery and remote sensing techniques, we quantified the remaining native vegetation on Lāna'i. With less than 300 ha of upper elevation (> 600 m) native forest remaining, management priority should focus on reducing the spread of invasive vegetation that is quickly dominating nearby Hawaiian Petrel nest sites.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1