Abundance and breeding distribution of the white-flippered penguin (Eudyptula minor albosignata) on Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
Abstract: A survey of the white-flippered penguin (Eudyptula minor albosignata) nesting colonies on Banks Peninsula,
New Zealand was made during the 2000/01 and 2001/02 breeding seasons. Sixty-eight colonies were found of which
51 contained 5-20 nests, 12 21-50 nests, and 5 >50 nests. Altogether there were 2112 nests which equates to a population
of c. 5870 birds. Adding the estimated 1650 nests on Motunau Island gave a total population for the subspecies of
c. 10,460 birds. The colonies were distributed right around the peninsula with their occurrence increasing from west to
east. Most were situated either on the peripheral coast (47%) or inside bays within 1 km of their entrance (38%). All but
three of the colonies were on debris slopes below coastal bluffs with the nests concentrated mainly in rock piles. One
colony was on an islet, and the other two were on farmland around the heads of bays. Thirty-four of the colonies were
considered accessible to introduced mammalian predators, and 14 contained evidence predators had been present.
If predator numbers remain high it seems inevitable that many of the surviving penguin colonies will be lost and others
reduced in size.