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Habitat use and burrow densities of burrow-nesting seabirds on South East Island, Chatham Islands, New Zealand

Habitat use and burrow densities of burrow-nesting seabirds on South East Island, Chatham Islands, New Zealand

Notornis 41(Suppl. ): 27-37

Forest of several types covered 45.14% of South East Island, Chatham Islands (218 ha). All petrel burrows in 200 10 m-2-quadrats in modified and unmodified forest were counted during breeding seasons it 1989 and 1990. From the total of 2675 burrows (1.338 burrows m-2 of forest), we estimated a breeding seabird population of more than 1.3 million pairs. The main species were White-faced Storm Petrels (Pelagodroma marina) (840,000 pairs), Broad-billed Prions (Pachyptila vittata) (330,000 pairs), and Southern Diving Petrels (Pelecanoides urinatrix) (127,000 pairs). Smaller numbers of Sooty Shearwaters (Puffinus griseus), Grey-backed Storm Petrels (Oceanites nereis) and Chatham Petrels (Pterodroma axillaris) also bred in the forests. Comparisons are made with population estimates for other New Zealand islands, parts of the Galapagos Islands, Baccalieu Island (Newfoundland), and the Juan Fernandez group. Conservation issues for South East Island are discussed.

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