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Fluttering Shearwater

Fluttering shearwater (Puffinus gavia)

  - Pakaha

Fluttering Shearwater
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Breeds only in New Zealand. Main breeding colonies are in the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds. Chicks were harvested by the Maoris. A small brown and white bird which as its name suggests, flies just above the water with a series of rapid wing beats. Fluttering shearwaters feed by plunge diving under the water and feed on small sprats which are normally chased close to the surface by larger predatory fish such as kahawai and barracuda.

Fluttering shearwaters are very similar to the Hutton’s shearwater, which is far more common in the coastal waters around Kaikoura and the two species are difficult to tell apart. Small flocks of up to a hundred fluttering shearwaters may be seen within 1-2 miles off the Kaikoura Coast, although fluttering shearwaters generally occur as the odd bird with flocks of up to thousands of Hutton's shearwaters.