New Zealand Storm Petrel

Fregetta maoriana

The New Zealand storm petrel (Fregetta maoriana) is a small seabird of the family Oceanitidae. Thought to be extinct since 1850, a series of sightings from 2003 to the present indicates the presence of a previously unknown colony. As of 2010, it is ranked on the IUCN Red List as critically endangered. The population of New Zealand storm petrels has been estimated to be less than 2000. The New Zealand storm petrel is a small seabird, dark brown/black above, except for its white rump. The underparts are black from the throat to the breast, with a white belly that has black streaking, and the feet project well beyond the tail. This storm petrel is strictly nocturnal at the breeding sites to avoid predation by larger and more aggressive gulls and skuas. Like most petrels, its walking ability is limited to a short shuffle to the burrow. It differs from the more common petrel species found in New Zealand, Wilson's storm petrel (O. oceanicus), by its pale bar on the upper wing, white belly with streaking, narrow white panel on the underwings, longer legs, and dark webs to the feet. Outside the breeding season, it is pelagic, remaining at sea, and this, together with its remote breeding sites, makes it a difficult bird to observe.
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