Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

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

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

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.