Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Ornithological discovery, exploration, and research on the Auckland Islands, New Zealand subantarctic

TitleOrnithological discovery, exploration, and research on the Auckland Islands, New Zealand subantarctic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsMiskelly, CM, Taylor, RH
Type of ArticleFull article
KeywordsAuckland Islands, Cape Expedition, coastwatchers, discovery, ecotourism, New Zealand subantarctic, ornithology, research, shipwreck

The Auckland Islands comprise the largest and most researched island group in the New Zealand subantarctic region, and have the largest number of endemic bird taxa. Paradoxically, they are the only one of the five island groups that has not yet been the subject of a comprehensive avifaunal review. We summarise the history of ornithological exploration of the group, and where this information is held, based on a database of 23,028 bird records made between 1807 and 2019. More than 76% of these observations were unpublished, with the two largest sources of information being Heritage Expedition wildlife logs (5,961 records) and records collected during the Second World War coastwatching ‘Cape Expedition’ (4,889 records). The earliest records of endemic taxa are summarised, along with the earliest records of significant seabird breeding colonies. Citizen science (principally eBird, with 1,597 unique records) is a rapidly growing source of information, and new records of vagrant species continue to accumulate at a rapid rate. Compared with other subantarctic islands, Auckland Islands’ birds have received very little research attention, with most effort to date focused on a few large surface-nesting seabird species.

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