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Location USA, Hawaii
Central coordinates 159o 24.00' West  22o 13.50' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 82 ha
Altitude 0 - 173m
Year of IBA assessment 2009


Site description The 203-acre (82-hectare) Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is located one mile north of Kilauea town on the northernmost point of Kauai. The refuge was established on February 15, 1985, when the land around Kilauea Point was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from the U.S. Coast Guard. The refuge contains Kilauea Lighthouse, built in 1913, three lighthouse keepers houses, and other historic buildings. The entire 31-acre area of Kilauea Point is on the National Register of Historic Places. The refuge was enlarged in 1998 through donation of the Crater Hill parcel by the Pali-Moana Corporation and by purchase of the Mokolea Point parcel using Land and Water Conservation funds, and again in 1993-94 by purchase of lots in Seacliff Plantation. Kilauea Point was established as a refuge because it has particular value for migratory birds, is suitable for wildlife-oriented recreation and education, and for the protection of endangered and threatened species and other natural resources. The refuge is crescent-shaped and composed of two peninsulas, Mokolea Point on the eastern edge and Kilauea Point on the western edge, connected by steep rocky bluffs that reach a maximum elevation of 568 feet (173 meters) at Crater Hill. These formations are remnants of the Kilauea volcanic vent that last erupted 250,000 to 500,000 years ago. During the winter months the rugged coastline is battered by huge waves that roll across the north Pacific and reach heights of over 50 feet (15 meters). The average monthly temperature ranges from the lower to upper 70?s (oF). Median annual rainfall is about 40 inches (1 meter). Habitats include rocky cliffs and beaches, coastal shrubland dominated by Scaevola sericea, open grassy areas, and upland forest and shrubland composed of naturalized alien species. Kilauea Point is among the most-visited sites on Kauai and is one of the most popular wildlife refuges in the nation, with over half a million visitors per year.

Key Biodiversity Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is important for the number and diversity of breeding seabirds that it supports and also for the presence of several species that are rare or have restricted distributions. Wedge-tailed Shearwaters are the most numerous species on the refuge, with an estimated 8,000-15,000 breeding pairs. The colony of Red-footed Boobies is the largest in the Hawaiian Islands, with a maximum of 2536 nests counted. About 200 pairs of Laysan Albatross nest on and near the refuge, the largest colony outside the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. About 350 pairs of Red-tailed Tropicbirds nest on the refuge, as well as smaller numbers of White-tailed Tropicbirds. Kilauea Point harbors at least 4 breeding pairs of Newell's Shearwater; this is the only easily accessible location where this threatened species nests and the source of most information on its breeding biology. The endangered Nene or Hawaiian Goose was reintroduced to Kaua`i beginning in 1985 and is increasing rapidly. The 300 Nene in the Kilauea Point area is one of the largest concentrations. A remarkable total of 27 seabird species have been observed at Kilauea Point over the years, making it one of the premier sites for seabirds birds in Hawai`i. This list includes some noteworthy vagrants, many of which probably were attracted by the abundance of other seabirds, such as Kermadec Petrel, Red-billed Tropicbird, Lesser Frigatebird, and most recently, White-tailed Eagle in 2006-2007.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Hawaiian Goose Branta sandvicensis breeding  2007  300 individuals  good  A1, A2, A4i  Vulnerable 
Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis breeding  2007  400 individuals  good  A1  Near Threatened 
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Ardenna pacifica breeding  2007  8,000-15,000 breeding pairs  unknown  A4ii  Least Concern 
Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda breeding  2007  350 nests  good  A4ii  Least Concern 
Red-footed Booby Sula sula breeding  2007  2,536 nests  good  A4ii  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  2007  11,200-18,200 breeding pairs  medium  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2009 high not assessed low
Poor - based on little, or potentially unreliable/unrepresentative, data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge (FWS) 78 protected area contained by site 78  

Land ownership Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is owned and managed entirely by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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