Story: Gulls, terns and skuas

Fairy tern chick and egg

Fairy tern chick and egg

Well camouflaged among the shells and sand, a tiny fairy tern chick sits beside an egg (centre). They are so small, they would barely count as a canapé for a hungry predator, yet stoats, rats, hedgehogs, cats, dogs and gulls pick them out. New Zealand’s subspecies of fairy tern is extremely endangered. The Department of Conservation (DOC) is attempting to save them from extinction by protecting them from predators and vehicles. Just four pairs were breeding in 1996, but in 2015 DOC estimated that there were about 12 breeding pairs.

Using this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10026326
Photograph by G. R. Parrish

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How to cite this page:

Gerard Hutching, 'Gulls, terns and skuas - Caspian and fairy terns', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 January 2022)

Story by Gerard Hutching, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015