Black-Billed Gull

Tarāpuka / Chroicocephalus bulleri

Tarāpuka, the most threatened gull species in the world, is New Zealand's only endemic gull.

They are under threat from several sources; cats, stoats, and ferrets take eggs, chicks and adults, and native swamp harriers and southern black-backed gulls take eggs and chicks. In Southland rivers, colonies nesting on islands have better nesting success than colonies nesting on banks, probably because predatory mammals cannot reach them as easily. Southern black-backed gulls threaten smaller colonies by harassment and predation. Weed encroachment on riverbeds has removed breeding habitat on some rivers and forces birds to nest closer to the water’s edge, making them vulnerable to flooding.

It is one of the target species in our Braided Rivers Project.

Photos by: Rod Morris DOC, Tony Whitehead, Peter Reese