Story: Extinctions

Southern merganser

Southern merganser

Mergansers are waterfowl with narrow, serrated beaks. Fossil evidence shows that the southern merganser (Mergus australis) was once common around coasts and in inland waterways. It was extinct on mainland New Zealand by 1500 AD, soon after the arrival of humans.

The species survived in the subantarctic Auckland Islands, but the last sighting was in 1902. By 1910, when the first reserve was set up there, the southern merganser was extinct, primarily because of predation by introduced animals.

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Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Artwork by Paul Martinson

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How to cite this page:

Richard Holdaway, 'Extinctions - Extinction of large birds', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/13667/southern-merganser (accessed 14 December 2019)

Story by Richard Holdaway, published 24 Sep 2007