Whenua Hou diving petrel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Whenua Hou diving petrel
Pelecanoides georgicus, South Georgian diving petrel.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Procellariidae
Genus: Pelecanoides
P. whenuahouensis
Binomial name
Pelecanoides whenuahouensis
Fischer et al., 2018

The Whenua Hou diving-petrel (Pelecanoides whenuahouensis) is a highly endangered diving petrel endemic to New Zealand. The species was first described by Johannes H. Fischer et al. in 2018. While formerly considered a unique population of the South Georgia diving petrel, differences in habitat preference and analyses of phenotypic differentiations indicates that it is a distinct species.[2] Only one extremely small population (less than 150 individuals) currently exists, breeding on the predator-free Whenua Hou island. There, it displays the unique nesting practice of burrowing into the sand dunes overlooking Sealers Bay, much unlike the South Georgia diving petrel, which nests on rocky slopes or flat land.[3]

Based on subfossil remains, this species formerly nested on Auckland Island and Stewart Island, and possibly on the Chatham and Macquarie islands as well. It was extirpated from Auckland due to nest destruction by New Zealand sea lions,[4] while on Stewart it was extirpated due to nest predation by the introduced Polynesian rat.[5] The remaining population itself is highly threatened by storm events; one such event in 2003 led to the collapse of many dunes, killing many birds. They are also threatened by the advance of coastal forest and invasive grasses and herbs over the dunes,[3] as well as sea level rise due to climate change.[6] While the petrel's foraging areas are unknown, an oil spill over this area would be devastating for this species.[3]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2019). "Pelecanoides whenuahouensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T155187257A155188651. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T155187257A155188651.en. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  2. ^ Fischer, Johannes H.; Debski, Igor; Miskelly, Colin M.; Bost, Charles A.; Fromant, Aymeric; Tennyson, Alan J. D.; Tessler, Jake; Cole, Rosalind; Hiscock, Johanna H. (2018-06-27). "Analyses of phenotypic differentiations among South Georgian Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides georgicus) populations reveal an undescribed and highly endangered species from New Zealand". PLOS ONE. 13 (6): e0197766. Bibcode:2018PLoSO..1397766F. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0197766. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 6021066. PMID 29949581.
  3. ^ a b c "South Georgian diving petrel | New Zealand Birds Online". www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  4. ^ "South-Georgia Diving Petrel - Polar Conservation Organisation". Polar Conservation Organisation. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  5. ^ R.N., Holdaway; M.D., Jones; N.R., Beavan, Athfield (2003). "Establishment and extinction of a population of South Georgian diving petrel (Pelecanoides georgicus) at Mason Bay, Stewart Island, New Zealand, during the late Holocene". Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 33 (3): 601–622. doi:10.1080/03014223.2003.9517748. ISSN 0303-6758.
  6. ^ "New species, the Whenua Hou diving petrel, discovered near Stewart Island". Newshub. 2018-06-29. Retrieved 2018-06-29.

External links[edit]

  • The Whenua Hou diving petrel (as the South Georgia diving petrel) on RNZ Critter of the Week, 29 July 2016