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The birds of Waimea Inlet

  • Publication Type

    Journal Article

  • Publication Year


  • Author(s)

    Owen, K.L., Sell, M.G.

  • Journal Name


  • Volume, Issue

    32, 4

  • Pagination


  • Article Type



Waimea Inlet, survey, population counts, species list

The birds of Waimea Inlet

Notornis, 32 (4), 271-309

Owen, K.L., Sell, M.G. (1985)

Article Type: Paper



Monthly bird counts were made at low tide in 14 tidal zones at Waimea Inlet, Nelson, from August 1976 to July 1978. Other records, extending from 1955 to 1984, are included. Seventy-five species were recorded: 52 estuarine species on the tidal flats and saltmarsh and 23 non-estuarine species on the inlet and its immediate shoreline. For the estuarine species, the frequency of sightings, use of tidal zones, numbers of birds, seasonal changes in numbers, distribution, breeding status, and habits are given. The numbers of birds at the inlet were highest from March to June in 1977 and 1978, owing to a winter increase in numbers of the South Island Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), Southern Black-backed Gull (Larus dominicanus) and Red-billed Gull (L. novaehollandiae). Of the Northern Hemisphere migratory waders in summer, the most common were the Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa Iapponica) and the Knot (Calidris canutus). The use of each tidal zone varied considerably month by month, some zones being notable for a high number of species, others for the particular species they attracted, often regularly. The information collected demonstrates the importance of the inlet to a wide variety of bird species.