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A Long Way from Hawaii…and the Ocean!

June 20, 2012

If you live in Hawaii, maybe you’ve wondered where our golden plovers fly off to in the Spring. A long way from the ocean and Hawaii, the American golden plover is one of 14 shorebirds known to nest in Denali National Park in Alaska. (Photo Courtesy Denali National Park and Preserve)

A golden plvoer (Kōlea in Hawaiian), at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park earlier this year. (Photo by Park Ranger Jay Robinson, Hawaii Volcanoes NP)

The kōlea spend long winters in Hawai‘i, arriving from Russia and Alaska in August and returning to the tundra in April. They cover an astonishing 3,000 miles, a nonstop transoceanic flight estimated to take between 50 to 60 hours and considered one of the most difficult migrations in the animal kingdom (Stone and Pratt, 21).  It is believed they fly at a 20,000-foot elevation.

When they first arrive  in Hawai‘i, the kōlea sport a flecked gold and brown plumage, but by late April, most males are further adorned with a dramatic breeding plumage of a black face, breast and throat, with a white stripe from atop each eye that traces the outline of its wing.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina permalink
    June 20, 2012 2:58 pm

    Wow, that’s a far way to fly!

  2. Emma Howard permalink
    June 21, 2012 5:10 am

    These tiny birds fly non stop for up to 60 hours between the Hawaiian Islands,most isolated land mass on Earth,and Alaska or Russia twice a year! Nearly 4 miles up in the air! Their conservation status is “least concerned”. I aspire to live like a Kolea/Pacific Golden Plover. :^D
    “There’s something strange and powerful about black-and-white imagery.” Stefan Kanfer

  3. Bob McW permalink
    July 12, 2012 4:12 am

    Ke kolea is written about in the Hawaiian language text book “Na Kai Ewalu” i ka mokuna umikumakahiku.

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  1. A Long Way from Hawaii…and the Ocean! | PRG HAWAII NEWS WITH RUSS ROBERTS

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