A ground survey of Fiordland crested penguins (tawaki; Eudyptes pachyrhynchus), breeding between Lee Bay and White Rock Point, northeast Stewart Island was carried out from 1–6 September 2019, to obtain a population estimate for the area. A total of 128 nests was found along the ~40 km of coast, 107 of which were located in caves on the cliffy shoreline rather than in the forest as is typical of South Westland breeding areas. Access along this coast is often difficult; however, the confinement of most nests to caves allows for a more accurate search than in forest colonies such as those in South Westland and Milford Sound. The results of this survey suggest that a significant breeding population is present on mainland Stewart Island and needs to be considered in future management plans for the species. Additional surveys of the remaining ~700 km of coastline should be conducted to obtain a better estimate of the entire population.
A survey of Fiordland crested penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus): northeast Stewart Island/Rakiura, New Zealand, September 2019