Story: Petrels

New Zealand storm petrel

New Zealand storm petrel

The photo shows how storm petrels patter across the surface of the water when searching for food. As they do this, they are lifted by their outspread wings, catching the wind like a wave-jumping windsurfer. This enables them to feed from the surface without having to land and take off. The delicate New Zealand storm petrel was thought for more than 100 years to be extinct. In January 2003 it was sighted at sea, and a few others have been seen since. In November 2005 one flew inside the cabin of a fishing boat, allowing feather samples to be taken to establish its identity. New Zealand storm petrels were discovered to be breeding on Little Barrier Island in 2013.

Using this item

Eco-vista: Photography & Research
Reference: Image 011405_040118
Photograph by Brent Stephenson

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How to cite this page:

Kerry-Jayne Wilson, 'Petrels - Prions, gadfly, storm and diving petrels', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/8593/new-zealand-storm-petrel (accessed 20 November 2019)

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