Seabird information

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Cape petrel

Cape pigeon | Daption capense australe

Has distinctive black and white patterned plumage

Often seen following ships off New Zealand, especially in winter

Feeds on krill, fish and squid, also scavenges near fishing vessels

Breeds on many Antarctic and subantarctic islands from November to March, with a subspecies breeding only on New Zealand subantarctic islands

Travels right around the Antarctic coast in summer, and moves north in the winter

NZ Threat Classification Migrant

Cape petrels are one of the easiest seabirds to identify because of their black and white mottled plumage.

They were once called cape pigeons because they peck at the water to capture prey, just like city pigeons. Scientists now prefer to call them petrels. They are named after the Cape of Good Hope

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Cape petrel

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Cape pigeon | Daption capense australe

Has distinctive black and white patterned plumage

Often seen following ships off New Zealand, especially in winter

Feeds on krill, fish and squid, also scavenges near fishing vessels

Breeds on many Antarctic and subantarctic islands from November to March, with a subspecies breeding only on New Zealand subantarctic islands

Travels right around the Antarctic coast in summer, and moves north in the winter

NZ Threat Classification Migrant

Cape petrels are one of the easiest seabirds to identify because of their black and white mottled plumage.

They were once called cape pigeons because they peck at the water to capture prey, just like city pigeons. Scientists now prefer to call them petrels. They are named after the Cape of Good Hope