Rare tūturuatu washes up in Hawke's Bay

  • 22/11/2017
Rare tūturuatu washes up in Hawke's Bay
Photo credit: Department of Conservation

One of New Zealand's rarest birds, the tūturuatu, is now even closer to extinction after one was found dead in Hawke's Bay.

The bird, also known as a shore plover, was found by a member of the public all the way from her Waikawa Island home off the tip of the Mahia Peninsula.

At times these birds like to visit the shores and rivers of the greater Hawke's Bay area.

There are only 250 tūturuatu left in the wild, with the last naturally occurring population found on the Chatham Islands.

The bird, named Obow after her leg bands, is thought to have died from a predator after the Department of Conservation found a pinprick sized hole in her chest.

The bird will be sent to Massey University for an autopsy.

Meanwhile, a captive breeding program has helped the birds populate new locations, including Waikawa Island.

With limited predator free offshore islands with appropriate habitat, places like Waikawa are incredibly valuable for the future of this species, says DOC Hawke's Bay's operations manager Connie Norgate.

"The more secure and safe population that can be built up will mean that this species has a better chance of survival.

"It also means that every single one of these birds count if we are going to save them from extinction," Ms Norgate said.