Rena Oil Spill: Bird Impacts

Seabirds can suffer from all number of ailments if they become coated in oil, or if they ingest small amounts of oil whilst feeding.

Presently many seabirds are nursing chicks so any adult deaths can have knock-on effects as chicks are left to starve onshore.

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Casualty list

Black petrel (vulnerable, endemic): There are only 1750 breeding pairs left and nests are exclusive to Great and Little Barrier islands.

New Zealand dotterel (uncommon, native): Only about 1500 New Zealand dotterels remain and some of the main breeding grounds are in the Bay of Plenty. 

Pycroft’s petrel (rare, endemic):
Pycroft’s petrels are endemic to the region. Their largest population is found on the Mercury Islands in the Bay of Plenty.

Little blue penguin (native):  Between 200 and 300 little penguins live along the Bay of Plenty coast and many of the offshore islands.

Common diving petrel (native):  Inhabits offshore islands stretching from the Bay of Plenty  to the Coromandel Peninsula.

White-faced storm petrel (native): 
The Bay of Plenty is one of the species’ main New Zealand colonies.

Flesh-footed shearwater (native):
Large populations live on the Alderman Islands, Karewa Island and Ohinau Island in the Bay of Plenty.

Australasian gannet (native):
A colony on White Island is home to several thousand gannets.

Fluttering shearwater (endemic)
: Fluttering shearwaters are currently sitting on eggs and feeding at sea in large flocks. The Bay of Plenty is one of the species’ primary breeding spots.

Grey-faced petrel (native):
  An estimated 10,000 grey-faced petrels inhabit islands in the area, including colonies off the Coromandel Peninsula.
Buller’s shearwater (endemic):
Breeds only on Poor Knights Islands from November to May.

Little shearwater (native):  Breeding spots includes the Poor Knights and Mercury islands.

White-fronted tern (native)
: Breeding season for this protected species begins in October.

Please note - this is not an exhaustive list of birds affected by the oil spill