Story: Seabirds – overview

Sooty shearwaters at sea

Sooty shearwaters at sea

Seabirds obtain all or most of their food from the sea. New Zealand has nearly a quarter of the world’s seabird species breeding on its mainland and offshore islands, and of these, 44% breed nowhere else in the world. The most abundant species is the sooty shearwater (muttonbird or tītī), with an estimated population of 20 million. About 4.5 million come to the tiny Snares Islands to breed each year (down from 7.5 million in the 1970s), as do many thousands of other seabirds.

Using this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10055976

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Kerry-Jayne Wilson, 'Seabirds – overview - Seabird capital of the world', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/5463/sooty-shearwaters-at-sea (accessed 8 December 2019)

Story by Kerry-Jayne Wilson, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015