Red-footed booby seen at Muri­wai

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE CLENT

A red-footed booby has been sighted for the first time on New Zealand’s main­land.

The Sula sula is the small­est bird of the gan­net and booby fam­ily and was spot­ted at Muri­wai’s gan­net colony on Jan­uary 19 by Blair Outh­waite.

It has caused quite a stir amongst bird watch­ers as it is the sec­ond ever sight­ing recorded in New Zealand and the first on the main­land.

Last year, two red-footed boo­bies were sighted at the Ker­madec Is­lands.

Te Papa bird ex­pert Dr Colin Miskelly said this was a re­mark­able sight­ing at the time as the bird had never been recorded in New Zealand be­fore.

‘‘To have one turn up on the main­land is just as­ton­ish­ing,’’ Miskelly said.

He said if the red-footed booby was reg­u­larly sighted at the Ker­madec Is­lands, it would be ex­pected that they would travel fur­ther south.

How­ever, as they were sighted for the first time only last year, it is sur­pris­ing that one has turned up so soon af­ter and so far south, Miskelly said.

Al­though the red-footed booby is rare to New Zealand, it is a fre­quent sea bird to the At­lantic, Pa­cific and In­dian oceans.

It is not con­sid­ered a threat­ened bird, but is vul­ner­a­ble to dis­tur­bance and hu­man pre­da­tion, Miskelly said.

This is the first ever sight­ing of the red-footed booby on New Zealand’s main­land.

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