A glorious gliding Cape Petrel by @melissa_boardman_photography
to be featured!
With their sharply contrasting black-and-white chequered plumage, Cape petrels are probably the most familiar and easily recognisable of New Zealand’s seabirds. They frequent New Zealand coastal waters, especially south from Cook Strait, and are familiar ship followers and scavengers around commercial fishing vessels.
Known widely as “Pintado petrel´ this species is common in cooler seas all around the southern hemisphere. Two subspecies are recognised – the Cape petrel D. c. capense, which breeds on mainland Antarctic and Antarctic Peninsula and Antarctic and subantarctic islands outside of New Zealand and the Snares Cape petrel D. c. australe which breeds on the Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland and Chatham Islands in the New Zealand region.
Snares Cape petrels breed on the Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland and Chatham Islands and there was an estimated total population of 5,000-10,000 breeding pairs before 1984. However, the total population at the Snares Islands was estimated at 7,385 breeding pairs in 1984, and so the population may have increased over that time.
Threats and conservation
The majority of breeding sites are free from mammalian predators. Occasionally Cape petrels are reported as by-catch in longline and trawl fisheries.