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Photos of Shore Plover (Tuturuata)


The shore plover (Tuturuata) Thinornis novaeseelandiae is a rare endemic bird (the main population is estimated at 110 to 140), which breeds primarily on Rangatira (South East Island) in the Chathams. They disappeared from the mainland shortly after the arrival of cats and rats, with the the last sighting being in 1871 in the Otago region.

The shore plover is very vulnerable to predation and this, coupled with its very limited geographic diversity, makes conservation efforts critical to ensure its survival. Young birds, produced from a captive breeding programme at Pukaha Mount Bruce, have been released onto Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf and more recently (2007) on Mana Island off Wellington's west coast. The release onto Motuora has struggled to develop a breeding population there, but the release onto Mana Island appears more promising, with birds having bred there already. Shore plovers are strong fliers and I was able to photograph this beautiful bird on a visit it made to Petone Beach, Wellington.
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Shore Plover, (Tuturuatu), Thinornis novaeseelandiae, Petone Beach

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Shore Plover, (Tuturuatu), Thinornis novaeseelandiae, Petone Beach