Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Puffinus huttoni breeds in the Seaward Kaikoura Range, north-east South Island, New Zealand. The population comprises two main colonies (Kowhai Valley and Shearwater Stream), sited 10-18 km inland. These were estimated to consist of c.125,000 and c.10,000 pairs (Sherley 1992), but reworking of the original data indicated c.94,000 pairs is more accurate (Taylor 2000). More recently Sommer et al. (2009) reported 106,000 pairs at Kowhai and 8,000 pairs at Shearwater Stream. The total population is estimated to number 300,000-350,000 individuals (Brooke 2004). Numbers and distribution within the Kaikoura Ranges have decreased, with 8 of 10 known colonies having been extirpated this century (Cuthbert 1999). Six out of eight colonies discovered in the high Kaikoura mountains were extirpated by pigs, and feral pigs remain a potential threat the remaining two colonies (Harrow 2009). Since the rapid extirpation of colonies was detected, work has been underway to establish a third population on the Kaikoura peninsula through the translocation of 290 chicks (Anon 2007, Ombler 2010), and predator-proof fencing was introduced in 2010. Individuals have been returning since 2008 (Ombler 2010). For many years this species has been considered to be in a long-term decline (Sherley 1992, Heather and Robertson 1997), but a major study has indicated that the population was stable from at least 1990-2000 (Taylor 2000). Recent evidence even points to a long-term increase in the population for the Kowhai Valley, at an annual rate of 1.7% over the last 20 years, based on burrow density (Sommer et al. 2009). In the non-breeding season birds migrate to waters off southern, western and north-western Australia (Heather and Robertson 1997).

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Source: IUCN

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Range

Breeds ne South I. (New Zealand); ranges to Australia.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It digs its burrows on gentle to steep mountain slopes at 1,200-1,800 m, under tussock grass or low alpine scrubland (Marchant and Higgins 1990). First breeding is thought to occur at 4-6 years of age. It feeds mostly on small fish and krill (Heather and Robertson 1997). Birds gather food for chicks as far south as the Otago Peninsula and often fish around Banks Peninsula bays (Harrow 2009). Kapiti Island and Cook Strait are common feeding areas in the north and they have been recorded near the Chatham Islands (Harrow 2009). Frequently diving to feed at c.25 m, they have been recorded as deep as 36.6 m (Harrow 2009). Burrow occupancy levels in both original colonies in 2006/2007 was found to be similar to the 1990s. In contrast, breeding success in both main colonies was thought to be due to poor at-sea feeding conditions, rather than increases in stoat predation, due to a lack of evidence pointing to the latter (Sommer et al. 2009). Annual adult survival, breeding success, and burrow occupancy averaged 93%, 47% and 71%, respectively (Sommer et al. 2009). Low levels of breeding success, particularly at Shearwater Stream colony, point to the possibility of the colony levels being maintained by immigration from the more successful Kowhai Valley colony (Sommer et al. 2009).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Puffinus huttoni

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B2ab(ii,iii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Cuthbert, R.

Justification
Although this species has a stable population, habitat changes are still occurring through continued, although much reduced, erosion and vegetation regeneration as a result of herbivore control. It qualifies as Endangered because breeding is restricted to just two colonies which may be losing burrows.


History
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)