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..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

Shore Plover

Scientific name:

 Thinornis novaeseelandiae

Maori Name:

 tuturuatu

 

 

Conservation status: 

Endemic. Nationally critical

Mainland status:

No mainland breeding sites 

Size:

20 cm, 60 g 

Lifespan:

Over 20 years recorded 

Breeding:

October - January  

Diet:

Invertebrates and small fish  

Total population:

Less than 200 adults in early 2013  

Shore plovers once nested around the coast of Mainland New Zealand, but introduced mammalian predators caused their extinction everywhere except the Chatham Islands. They are one of the world's rarest shorebirds, with only around 65 breeding pairs (2013). 

They are brown above and white below, with a bright orange bill and legs. The eye-ring is also orange and the bill has a black tip. Their most distinctive feature is a dark face mask (black in males, dark brown in females) which extends over the throat and around the neck; there is a white band above the mask below the brown crown.

They forage for invertebrates in a range of coastal habitats - from rocky platforms to sandy beaches and estuaries - and also eat small fish. They nest under the cover of vegetation or rocks. Eggs (usually three) are laid from October to January and incubated for about 28 days by both parents working in shifts (male at night, female mainly during the day). Fledging can take over 60 days if food is scarce, but is normally between 35 and 45 days.

The breeding population of shore plovers has fluctuated over the years, from as low as 50 pairs in the early 1990s to as many as 94 pairs in the wild by 2010, only to decline, due to predator incursions, to around 65 pairs in 2013. Since the 1990s, a captive breeding programme has released over 400 individuals (by 2013) on predator-free islands. The birds are very mobile, however, and have been known to return to their captive breeding sites. They also remain highly vulnerable to predation when they move out of protected areas.

Shore plover are very unlikely to be seen on Tiritiri Matangi, though some were released on Motutapu in 2012. An early translocation to Motuora, just north of Tiritiri, failed largely due to predation by morepork. 

Find out more about the shore plover at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography: Martin Sanders ©

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