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Auckland's seabird hotspots

Published: 23 January 2018

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Seabirds worth the watch

Did you know Aotearoa is known for being the seabird capital of the world? About a quarter of all seabirds breed in our waters and Auckland is world famous for many of these birds.

Auckland, and the wider Hauraki Gulf, is home to 27 breeding seabird species, making the area a seabird hotspot.

West coast

If you head over to Muriwai (Otakamiro Point) on the west coast you can see an amazing colony of tākapu (gannets) and tara (white-front terns). These birds are nearing the end of their breeding cycle but if you head out soon you may just see the new chicks before they take their first flights.

Hauraki Gulf

The east coast is an even more amazing seabird area. If you are a boatie then you already know the Hauraki Gulf is full of seabirds. In the inner gulf you’re likely to come across pakahā (fluttering shearwater), little shearwaters, kāruhiruhi (pied shags) and the odd korora (penguin) playing in the water.

If you manage to get out into the outer gulf you may even get to see some of our regionally endemic birds, the ones that only breed in these waters. Have a look for little sparrow-sized birds that appear to be almost walking on water and you may spot the recently rediscovered New Zealand storm petrel, now on the endangered list.

Look out also for some of the larger seabirds, such as rako (Buller’s shearwater) which breed on the Poor Knights Islands and the striking tāiko (black petrel) which will be busy foraging for squid, fish and crustaceans to bring home to its chick in a nest burrow on Aotea Great Barrier Island or possibly even Hauturu (Little Barrier Island).

Find a seabird hotspot 

Auckland really is a wonderland for seabirds; birders come from across the world to see these unique sea experts, so get out there and have a look for yourself.