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shearwaters are one of our most common summer visitors, they stay
mainly in a band from about 5 miles to 15 miles offshore. They
are quite large for a shearwater and are easily recognised by
their plumage pattern with a W on the back. They migrate to the
North Pacific in the winter and arrive here in large flocks in
November. Breeding is on the Poor Knights Islands where they lay
in late November with the young flying in April.
shearwaters are our most common inshore summer shearwater, they
normally arrive in October and leave in June although there are
a few which stay year-round. They are a small shearwater dark
brown above and white below with brown markings on the underside
of the wings. They form large groups around fish schools feeding
from the surface and are capable divers. In this area they are
mainly an inshore bird coming within a few hundred metres of shore
and rarely venturing farther out than 15 miles. Breeding is at
over 4000ft on the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains with eggs in December
and the young flying in March.
petrels are present here most months of the year but are more
prevalent in summer. They don't appear in large numbers but as
they are eager to approach boats are easily seen. They are a large
completely black petrel with black feet and a heavy greenish bill.
They are known to nest on bush-clad mountain tops from Little
Barrier Island to Stewart Island. Eggs are laid in December and
the young fly in May or June.
A band can be seen on the leg of the bird
pigeons are one of the predominant winter birds we have here,
depending on the season they arrive in May or June and head south
again from October with only a few stragglers still present in
December. Their distinctive black and white plumage makes them
unmistakable, they will often sit in flocks around a boat and
are one of the few sea-birds other than gulls which will eat bread.
The photo of the birds on the water show two distinct sizes and
plumage pattern possibly different races. Cape pigeons nest from
Antarctica to the sub-antarctic islands, eggs are laid in October
and the young fly in March or April.
are quite a large dark brown shearwater with a slender black bill
and dark feet. They are similar to fleshfooted shearwaters but
can be distinguished by their slimmer shape and when on the wing
by a flash of white feathers on the underwing. Sootys are mostly
a transitional bird here the main group travel south in September
-October before the arrival of our summer birds. They must occupy
a niche to the south of the fleshfooted shearwaters although there
is mixing as there are always a few around all summer. They breed
in burrows on offshore islands mainly from Stewart Island south,
eggs are laid in November-December and young fly in April- May.
largest of the petrels giants are unmistakable, their size, dirty
looking grey-brown plumage and large pale bill with a single nasal
tube sets them apart from any other bird we see. As a scavenger
they will usually investigate any boats they see and will paddle
up and almost take food from the hand. We don't see many here
but they are likely to arrive at any time of the year. In New
Zealand they breed on the Chathams and the sub-antarctic islands
laying a single white egg between August and October.
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