NZ scientists find egg of bird presumed extinct

Last Updated: Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 12:30

Melbourne: Scientists in New Zealand have found for the first time an egg of an endangered bird that was presumed extinct for more than a century.

Researchers studying the New Zealand storm petrel on Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park are the first scientists to find a storm petrel egg.

New Zealand storm petrels were presumed extinct then rediscovered in 2003, more than a century after the last sighting.

In February last year the birds were successfully tracked to breeding sites on Hauturu.

"The egg was found on the same day that a kakapo was found incubating eggs. This tale of two nests is a remarkable and joyful coincidence and further highlights Hauturu Little Barrier`s role as New Zealand`s premier nature reserve," said Warren Gibb, chairman of the Hauturu Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust.
The New Zealand storm petrel project scientists took the opportunity when the female was off the nest to check the egg was fertile and record data.

"It was exciting to see the egg of a bird once thought to be extinct," said Graeme Taylor, Department of Conservation (DOC) Principal Science Advisor leading the team.

"Measuring a mere 31mm X 23mm, the egg is white with a fine dusting of pink spots concentrated at one end," said Taylor.

"The fact it has taken until 2014 for scientists to observe one of these tiny eggs reflects how much we still don`t know about New Zealand`s natural environment and particularly for marine species," said Taylor.
The NZ storm petrel team, also involving Chris Gaskin, Dr Matt Rayner and Alan Tennyson, expect the egg to hatch in early April.

First Published: Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 12:30
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