The hawksbill turtle communicates by the use of ritual mating behaviors and breeds in shallow waters near the shore.
Male hawksbill turtles are distinguished from females by a brighter pigmentation, a concave plastron, long claws, and a thicker tail.
Hawksbill turtles are found in shoals, sea grass, algal beds, mangrove bays, lagoons, islands, creeks, mud flats, continental shelves, and hard-bottomed and reef habitats containing sponges.
Once sexually mature, most hawksbill turtles undertake complex movements and become highly migratory, but some may settle near their natal beaches.
The hawksbill turtle inhabits the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Pacific Ocean and reside on the coasts of more than 108 countries.
Hawksbill turtle mating occurs in shallow waters every 2-3 years, but it's unknown whether the turtles are promiscuous or monogamous.
Young hawksbill turtles are unable to dive into deep water and gather in masses of floating sea plants until they're older.
Hawksbill turtles play a positive role in the ecosystem by contributing to marine and coastal food webs and transporting nutrients within the oceans.
The entire hawksbill turtle nesting process takes roughly 1-3 hours in which the turtles dig pits, lay their eggs, then cover the nests and return to the sea.
Only about 1 in 1,000 hawksbill turtles will survive to adulthood because they must scramble to the ocean, directly after hatching, while avoiding predators.
Hawksbill turtles are believed to be guided inland to their nesting beaches by magnetic fields and the lunar phases and positioning of the moon.
Hawksbill turtles are primarily spongivorous in the Caribbean, omnivorous in the Indo-Pacific and Great Barrier Reef, and more herbivorous in Australia.
Hawksbill turtles are preyed on by humans, sharks, crocodiles, large fish, and octopi, and their nests are robbed by dogs, raccoons, rats, and humans.
Humans have become the hawksbill turtle's major predator by eating the turtle and its eggs, as well as illegally hunting them to sell their scutes.
Temperature may determine the sex of hawksbill turtles, as cooler environments hatch more males and warmer nests hatch more females.
Tortoiseshell, the carapace scutes and plastron of the hawksbill turtle, has been prized and traded since ancient times.
Researchers tag nesting female hawksbill turtles in order to document population estimates, nest slaughters, and total number of egg clutches.
Hawksbill turtles have seen an increase in the Caribbean, but protection of the turtle in both terrestrial and marine habitats is still needed throughout much of the world.
Hawksbill turtles face multiple severe threats including the tortoiseshell trade, Japanese bekko industry, marine fishery mortalities, habitat degradation, and nesting disturbances.
Because they're migratory and found internationally, hawksbill turtles lack demographic data and are instead evaluated using population trends and nesting activity.
The average female hawksbill turtle lays 3-5 egg clutches of 100-140 eggs during a single nesting season, but newly recruited females lay fewer clutches.
Hawksbill turtle populations continue to decline, especially in southeast Asia, and have decreased more than 80% overall throughout the last 3 generations.
The hawksbill turtle's scientific name, "Eretmochelys imbricata" describes the imbricate, overlapping scutes on its carapace that set it apart from other sea turtles.
The hawksbill turtle is listed as "Critically Endangered" on the IUCN Red List and is banned from international trade as an Appendix 1 species of CITES.
Female hawksbill turtles return to their natal rookeries to breed, even though they reside at habitats located hundreds or thousands of kilometers away.
Typically diurnal, except during mating season, solitary hawksbill turtles search for food during the daylight hours.
Hawksbill turtles have a flattened body shape, flipper-like limbs, and a protective carapace that can change colors based on water temperature.
Hawksbill turtles can be distinguished from other sea turtles by their extra prefrontal scales, extra forelimb claws, overlapping scutes, and elongated, sharp beaks.
Hawksbill turtles are long-lived and mature slowly, taking 20-40 years to fully develop and averaging a 20-50 year lifespan.
In general, hawksbill turtles are found in water no deeper than 18.3 m., or 60 ft., but larger turtles may inhabit deeper sites.
Hawksbill turtles are omnivorous and feed primarily on sponges, preferring certain species of sponges found in shallow shoals abundant with brown algae.
The hawksbill turtle gets its name from the elongated, tapered, sharp point at the end of its beak that gives the appearance of a bird's beak.
Hawksbill turtles are relatively small sea turtles averaging 65-89 cm. long and 40-75 kg., however nesting females tend to be larger and heavier.