There are seven subspecies of little shearwater, three of which breed in the New Zealand region; the Kermadec little shearwater, kermadecensis, the North Island little shearwater, haurakiensis, the sub-Antarctic little shearwater, elegans. The Norfolk Island assimilis occasionally visits New Zealand.
Breeding is from mid June to late July in the Kermadecs, from early July to mid August around the northern North Island and in September in the sub-Antarctic.
The name 'Shearwater' arises from the use of a shearing flight technique to move across wave fronts with the minimum of active flight.
Other common names: —
30 cm., 200g., head and upperparts dark blue black, eyebrow, face and underparts white, underwing white, except for thin dark border on trailing edge, bill blue with dark ridge and tip, legs and feet pale blue with fleshy webs.
Where to find: —
North Island birds breed on islands around the northern North Island, with main colonies on the Poor Knights, Hen and Chickens, Mokohinau, Mercury and Alderman Islands. They are often seen in the outer Hauraki Gulf and the Bay of Plenty. Sub-Antarctic little shearwaters breed on Star Keys and Little Mangere in the Chathams and on islands around the Antipodes. Kermedec little shearwaters have a large colony on Curtis Island.
Illustration description: —
Godman, Frederick du Cane, Monograph of the Petrels, 1907-1910.
Oliver, W.R.B. New Zealand Birds, 1955.
Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.
Page date & version: —
Tuesday, 27 May 2014; ver2009v1