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Seabirds found dead on New Zealand beaches in 1982 and a review of penguin recoveries since 1960

Notornis, 31 (2), 155-171

Powlesland, R.G. (1984)

Article Type: Paper

In 1982, 3705 kilometres of coast were patrolled and 6957 dead seabirds were found. Large numbers of Sooty Shearwaters (Puffinus griseus) were found on Stewart Island beaches (mainly in July) and Auckland West beaches (November-December). Large numbers of Blue Penguins (Eudyptula minor) were found on Auckland West and Auckland East beaches in January-February and August-September. Unusual finds were single specimens of Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudus), Black-fronted Tern (Sterna albostriata), Arctic Tern ( S. paradisaea) and Little Tern (S. albifrons). A summary is given of the coastaI and monthly distribution for each species of penguin found over the 1960-1982 period.

The Weka on Macquarie Island

Notornis, 31 (2), 145-154

Brothers, N.P., Skira, I.J. (1984)

Article Type: Paper

Wekas have been on Macquarie Island for just over 100 years. They occur in the coastal tussock grassland, mainly in the northern half of Macquarie Island. Males are larger than females and the sexes can be separated on a combination of culmen and tarsus lengths. The sex ratio in favour of males was considered to be due to behavioural differences. Breeding begins in August and, although four eggs may be laid, only one or two chicks are usually reared. Losses are probably due to predation by feral cats and skuas. Preferred foods are vegetation, insects and spiders. Mammal and bird remains were present in fewer than half the gizzards examined, but rats and mice are thought to be important food because of their size.

The North Island Kokako (Callaeas cinerea wilsoni) in the western King Country and Taranaki

Notornis, 31 (2), 131-144

O'Donnell, C.F.J. (1984)

Article Type: Paper

The distribution of the North Island Kokako (Callaeas cinerea wilsoni) in the western King Country and Taranaki was recorded during summer 1980-1981. The survey confirmed that the Kokako was widespread in the study area but showed that its range is continuing to shrink. The status of many populations is still uncertain. Kokako appear to have disappeared recently from large forest tracts in south-eastern and inland Taranaki and from large isolated forests in the north. Within large forest tracts Kokako were not recorded in some locations where they had been present before 1970. Most Kokako were in unmodified rimu-tawa dominant forest and habitat deterioration appears to be an important factor in their decline.

Plumage, morphology and hybridisation of New Zealand stilts Himantopus spp.

Notornis, 31 (2), 106-130

Pierce, R.J. (1984)

Article Type: Paper

New Zealand has experienced two invasions of stilts, the first giving rise to the endemic Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezealandiae) and the second being that of the Pied Stilt (H. himantopus leucocephalus). The geographical separation of these forms was of insufficient duration for reproductive isolation to become complete, and introgressive hybridisation has occurred. Hybrids are usually intermediate in plumage and morphology between their parents and are distinguishable from immature Black Stilts. There was no evidence of hybrid infertility or lack of vigour. Through hybridisation, the Pied Stilt has become distinguishable from the Australian population of Pied Stilts by several characteristics, including shorter tarsus, longer tail, and variable plumage markings. Selective mating and a different wintering area have helped keep the small remnant population of Black Stilts from being absorbed into the much larger Pied Stilt population. On the basis of aspects of its morphology, ecology and behaviour, the Black Stilt merits its status as a full species.

Breeding of the Chatham Island Warbler (Gerygone albofrontata)

Notornis, 31 (2), 97-105

Dennison, M.D., Robertson, H.A., Crouchley, D (1984)

Article Type: Paper

The breeding of the Chatham Island Warbler was studied over five seasons on three islands in the Chatham Group. The breeding season is short, and only one brood is raised per year. On predator-free ‘petrel islands’, nests were low to the ground in dense vegetation, whereas on Chatham Island nests were high and in the open. Mean clutch size was 3.1 eggs (n=79). Incubation and nestling periods were both about 20 days. Density of breeding birds was highest in regenerating forest clumps on predator-free islands, with about 10 pairs per hectare. Comparisons are made with the breeding biology of the Grey Warbler (G. igata) of the New Zealand mainland and with other Gerygone species. Brood parasitism by the Shining Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx lucidus) and how vulnerable the Chatham Island Warbler is to extinction are discussed.

A census of the South Polar Skua at Cape Hallett, Antarctica

Notornis, 31 (4), 312-319

J.G. Pascoe (1984)

Article Type: Paper

Two counts of skuas (Catharacta maccormicki) at Cape Hallett were made between 17 and 20 January 1983: in one 85 pairs and 83 non-breeding birds, total 253 birds; in the other, 83 pairs and 79 non-breeding birds, total 245 birds. South Polar Skua numbers remain low, suggesting a continuation of the 1960s decline or the influence of climatic factors such as heavy snowfall during critical stages of skua breeding.