Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

Black Petrel

Scientific name:

 Procellaria parkinsoni



Conservation status

Endemic, Nationally vulnerable 

Mainland status:

None - no mainland breeding sites


46 cm, 700 g


17 years - oldest recorded




Squid, fish, crustaceans and other marine invertebrates

The smallest of the Procellaria petrels, black petrels are uniformly dark brown rather than true black, with a mainly yellow bill and black legs. They are often seen on pelagic trips in the outer Hauraki Gulf but are not often seen close to the mainland. They number around 10,000 in total and breed only on Great Barrier and Little Barrier Islands, in loose colonies high on ridges. They were once much more widespread, breeding on high ground throughout the North Island and at the north end of the South Island, but like many seabirds, they have been wiped out by introduced mammal predators.

They are summer breeders, returning to their colonies from October to court and clean out their burrows. Between November and January, the female lays one white egg, which is incubated by both adults. The egg hatches after around 57 days and, after the first few days, when it is not left alone, the chick is fed every 2-3 days, with feeds becoming less frequent as it nears fledging. About ten days before fledging, the chick begins to emerge from its burrow at night. It fledges between 96 and 122 days old.

Black petrels spend the southern winter in the western Pacific, from west of the Galapagos Islands to southern Mexico and northern Peru. When feeding at sea, mainly on squid and fish, they are often solitary, but will congregate around feeding whales and fishing boats, which can be hazardous for them as they sometimes get caught on long lines or in nets.

Black Petrels do not often come far enough into the Hauraki Gulf to be seen from Tiritiri Matangi. 

Learn more about the black petrel at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photograph: Martin Sanders ©

Reference: Heather, B. and Robertson, H. The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, Viking 2005.