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Seabird conservation

Te Papa researchers: Alan Tennyson and Colin Miskelly

Using field surveys and literature reviews, we are researching the distributions and conservation status of New Zealand’s seabirds. New Zealand is the ‘seabird capital’ of the world, so our seabird fauna is particularly important on a global scale, yet many species are poorly known and under threat of extinction.

Understanding the impacts of predators is a key focus because introduced mammals have posed the greatest threat to our seabirds, while the more recent threat of by-catch in fisheries now poses further challenges to the survival of many species. By understanding the distributions of seabirds and the threats that they face we can provide information to help with their protection.

A grey and white bird with a grey fluffy chick in a nest

Caption

Mottled petrel (Pterodroma inexpectata) and chick. Photo by Alan Tennyson

A bird in a dark cave with its wings up

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New Zealand storm petrel (Fregetta maoriana). Photo by Alan Tennyson. Te Papa

An adult albatross sitting over a fluffy chick on the side of a cliff

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Chatham Island albatross (Thalassarche eremita), adult brooding downy chick. Photo by Alan Tennyson

Main collaborators: The Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust, Department of Conservation, Otago University, Auckland Museum.

Representative publications:

Gill BJ, Bell BD, Chambers GK, Medway DG, Palma RL, Scofield RP, Tennyson AJD, Worthy TH. 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica (4th edition). Te Papa Press, Wellington. 500 pp.

Miskelly CM, Gilad D, Taylor GA, Tennyson AJD, Waugh SM. 2019. A review of the distribution and size of gadfly petrel (Pterodroma spp.) colonies throughout New Zealand. Tuhinga 30: 99–177.

Tennyson AJD, Cooper JH, Shepherd LD. 2015. A new species of extinct Pterodroma petrel (Procellariiformes: Procellariidae) from the Chatham Islands, New Zealand. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 135: 267-277.