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White-chinned Petrel

White-chinned petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

White-chinned Petrel
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An abundant petrel in Sub-Antarctic waters with a population of over several million birds. 200000 + birds nest on a small island in the Auckland Islands group. The largest petrel species to nest in underground burrows. Called Shoemaker by the early sealers who visited the Sub-Antarctic islands because of the sound the bird makes in its burrow, a succession of clacks and rattles. Slightly larger than the Westland petrel and distinguished from the Westland by the lack of a black tip on the birds beak. While most birds have a white chin, the white chin is usually very difficult to see.

White-chinned petrels can be seen off the Kaikoura coast throughout the year, generally single birds. Peak numbers of white-chinned petrels are seen in late spring and early summer. White-chinned petrels are generally found further offshore than the Westland petrel, but are occasionally seen within a mile or so off the coast. White-chinned petrels are not as common as Westland petrels off the Kaikoura Coast, although groups of up to 15 birds can be seen around fishing boats. An inquisitive seabird which congregates around fishing boats. Can dive to depths of 10 metres or more using its wings to fly underwater.