Birds of the Wairarapa and where to see them
Info Field guide Checklist

Field guide to the birds of Ngawi and Cape Palliser

Next page

Royal Albatross (Diomedea epomophora)

Description: Very large seabirds. Head, body, tail and underwing is white except for wing tips which are black like outer wing. is distinguished from by the white head and body. Soar and glide on outstretched wings, rarely ever flapping.

Habitat: Frequents our offshore waters in winter and in windy weather can be seen from shore with telescopes. Can be attracted close to boats with fish scraps.

Black-browed Mollymawk (Diomedea melanophris)

Description: An all-white albatross with black upper-wings, and a dark eye which gives it a "frowning" appearance.

Habitat: Present offshore in winter, where it will follow fishing boats.

Buller's Mollymawk (Diomedea bulleri)

Description: This albatross has distinctive beak markings and a dusky grey head. In flight, note the extensive white on the underwing and the broader black edging on the front of the wing compared to the trailing edge.

Habitat: Can be seen in summer offshore as it ranges far from breeding colonies in the Chathams.

Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus)

Description: Our largest petrel, the is albatross-sized (much bigger than a ) and has a grotesquely massive beak with prominent nasal tubes. It has a mottled grey brown plumage with a pale eye.

Habitat: Watch for it trailing fishing boats, often soaring in wide arcs. An aggressive scavenging feeder which can be attracted close in with fish scraps. Traditionally was regularly found around whaling stations and freezing works outfalls.

Cape Pigeon (Daption carpensis)

Description: Black and white somewhat pigeon-like petrel which will closely approach boats for fish scraps. Underparts white. Head, back of neck and tail tip black with mottled white on upper wings. Essentially surface feeders, it eats a lot of krill.

Habitat: Best seen from a boat a few miles off shore. Offshore storms may force them close to shore.

Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus)

Description: A grey-brown offshore bird (a little bigger than a ) with long narrow wings. Breeds in Sub-Antarctic around and below Stewart Island and migrates each year in clockwise fashion around the Pacific returning to New Zealand waters about September.

Habitat: Their southern migration may be witnessed from shore around Labour weekend as a continuous dark stream of birds close to the water flying steadily south.

Fluttering Shearwater (Puffinus gavia)

Description: A medium-sized seabird with dark brown upper parts, throat and underparts white. Often seen in large rafts in coastal waters and flying close to the surface with rapid wing beats. Dives well but does not approach fishing boats as often as .

Habitat: Best views are obtained offshore from a fishing boat. In spring, distant flocks can be seen from shore, heading south to breed

Flesh-footed Shearwater (Puffinus carneipes)

Description: This chunky uniformly dark, chocolate-brown seabird is readily attracted close to boats when fish scraps are tossed overboard. Pale beak with dark tip and pink flesh coloured legs and feet. Dives well and often follows and tries to steal bait off lines as they are tossed overboard.

Habitat: Best views are obtained offshore from a fishing boat. In spring, distant flocks can be seen from shore, heading south to breed

Next page

Site Map About this guide