Story: Petrels

Northern giant petrel scavenging (2nd of 2)

Northern giant petrel scavenging

This young bird is feeding on a skua. Giant petrels are unusual in that they sometimes feed on land. Males in particular are scavengers, tearing apart other birds, dead seals and whales with their immensely strong bill. They also feed at sea on fish, squid and crustaceans. They were more common around the mainland coasts when abattoirs and whaling stations dumped offal into the sea, but are still seen around Cook Strait as well as near offshore islands.

Using this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10042147
Photograph by Bruce Dix

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How to cite this page:

Kerry-Jayne Wilson, 'Petrels - Shearwaters, Procellaria and fulmarine petrels', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 April 2024)

Story by Kerry-Jayne Wilson, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015