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Updated 8:31PM 22 October, 2018

15°C

Clear sky
North-northwest
Light air at 3.6km/h

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Kaikoura Seabirds

We have one of the greatest numbers of different types of seabirds within a small area than anywhere along the New Zealand coastline.

The list of seabirds below have been sighted off the Kaikoura Coast, mainly in an area from Kaikoura Peninsula south to a distance of 10 miles off the Conway River mouth.

One of the reasons for such a large number of different types of seabirds in Kaikoura is the presence of a deepwater trench (the Kaikoura Canyon), close inshore. Upwellings of cold nutrient rich water over the shallower coastal waters produce and sustain a vibrant food chain supporting a large variety of fish species, marine mammals and seabirds. Click on the links below for more information on each bird species. 

Great Albatross

Great Albatross

Great albatrosses are the largest of the albatrosses and are amongst the largest of flying birds. The wandering albatross and the southern royal albatross have the largest wingspans of any bird, being up to 3.5 m (11 ft) from tip to tip, although the average is a little over 3 m (9.8 ft). Large adult males of these two species may exceed 11 kg (24 lb) in weight, as heavy as a large swan.

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Lesser Albatross

Lesser Albatross

Lesser Albatross (sometimes referred to as mollymawks) have the largest range in size of all the albatross genera, with wingspans between 180 and 256 cm (71–101 in). Mollymawks have gull-like plumage, with dark black backs, mantle and tails; and lighter heads, underwings and bellies.

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Shearwaters

Shearwaters

These tubenose birds fly with stiff wings and use a "shearing" flight technique (flying very close to the water and seemingly cutting or "shearing" the tips of waves) to move across wave fronts with the minimum of active flight. This technique gives the group its English name.

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Petrels

Petrels

The word petrel comes from the Latin name for the Christian Saint Peter, and refers to the habits of certain species to hover just above the ocean waves, with their feet barely touching the water, thus giving an appearance of walking on water, as St. Peter is said to have done.

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Other Seabirds

Other Seabirds

Within just a small area, in Kaikoura you'll meet one of the greatest varieties of seabirds you'd find anywhere in the world. Several varieties of seabirds, additional to those above, can be found in the Kaikoura area.

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Recent Bird Sightings

With around 150 species of birds recorded here so far, Kaikoura is one of New Zealand's top birding destinations. The wonderful array of seabirds just offshore are the jewel in the crown with five varieties of Great Albatross, nine varieties of the smaller Lesser Albatross, seven varieties of Shearwaters, fourteen Petrel varieties, and several other seabird varies such as Shags, Prions, Penguins, Gulls and Terns.

VIEW RECENT BIRD SIGHTINGS

Caring for Our Natural Environment

Caring for Our Natural Environment

We are privileged to have the abundance of marine life here in Kaikoura and we don’t take this for granted. In 2009 we established the Encounter Foundation specifically to support organizations and groups that are actively working on projects that result in improving the health of the natural environment through conservation, education and research.

We donate a portion of each customer fare to the Encounter Foundation to support worthy projects which make an impact on ensuring our environment is preserved and treasured for future generations.

Thank you for enabling us to do this – your support of our business is making a difference in a very positive way.