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 (/..

White-faced Storm Petrel

Scientific name:

 Pelagodroma marina maoriana

Maori Name:

 takahikare-moana

 

 

Conservation status:

At risk - relict 

Mainland status:

No breeding colonies on mainland

Size:

20 cm, 45 g 

Lifespan:

Unknown 

Breeding:

October - March  

Diet:

Krill, small crustaceans and small fish

Total population:

c. 900,000 breeding pairs 

Like other storm petrels, the New Zealand white-faced storm petrel is often known among fishermen as the 'Jesus Christ bird' because it appears to walk on water as it hunts for prey - mainly planktonic crustaceans and small fish taken from the surface of the water.

It is a small, lightly built seabird, quite strikingly marked: grey above with darker flight and tail feathers, pale grey rump, white belly and breast, a white face with a dark grey crown and a dark stripe through and just below the eye. The eye is large and dark, the bill, legs and toes are black, but the webs between the toes are yellowish.

Despite their high numbers, white-faced storm petrels are classed as 'at risk' because they are extremely vulnerable to introduced mammalian predators. They breed in dense colonies on predator-free islands (the largest being c. 840,000 in Rangatira/South East Island in the Chathams). A single egg is laid in a burrow or under dense vegetation between October and mid-December. The chick hatches after about 50 days and is fed nightly until it is around 57 days old, when it fledges.

White-faced storm petrels nest on islands in the outer Hauraki Gulf, notably the Mokohinau Islands. They can be seen from the coastal path on Tiritiri Matangi, as they forage in nearby waters, but sharp eyes and strong binoculars or a telescope are needed; because of their small size and cryptic colouring against the surface of the sea, they are not easy to spot.

Learn more abou the New Zealand white-faced storm petrel 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.