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Royal Spoonbill Census 2013-14

The OSNZ Regions carried out a successful winter census of Royal Spoonbill in 2012, which showed a 10% per annum increase from a low of 26 in 1979 to 2361 in 2012. For many decades the only known colony of Royal Spoonbill in New Zealand was at Okarito, then in 1979 two nests were found at Wairau Lagoon, Marlborough. Then in 1984 further expansion of breeding to Otago began with a colony at Moeraki. Since then a number of colonies and breeding attempts have been reported at sites all over the country. The largest number of colonies is in the Otago and Southland regions.

A systematic, coordinated census of colonies and active nests was completed in the 2013-2014 breeding season to provide an accurate baseline of knowledge about breeding Royal Spoonbills in New Zealand.

The objectives of the “National Royal Spoonbill Colony & Nest Census” were to:

  • locate Royal Spoonbill breeding colonies.
  • count number of active nests during the breeding season, 2013-2014.
  • provide baseline data for future studies of colony expansion/decline.

The results of this survey have been published in the September issue of Birds New Zealand 2014. You can download the article here.

For further information please contact your Regional Representative.

Royal Spoonbill colony on Green Island, Otago

Photo: Royal Spoonbill colony on Green Island

Results of Royal Spoonbill Census – Article in September Birds NZ 2014