After a busy breeding season that saw 21 Shore Plover raised at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre and released on Motutapu and Waikawa Islands, the birds are currently being flocked over the winter. Flocking is a natural occurrence in wild birds and provides an opportunity for the birds to interact with their own species and increase the pair bonds between breeding birds
The shore plover is a unique colourful shorebird endemic to New Zealand – it is one of the rarest plover species and waders in the world. The global population of ~200 individuals is incredibly small and vulnerable, with very few females persisting in the mainland population.
It has the same threat ranking as the famous kakapo, classified as Critically Endangered in the New Zealand Threat Classification System, and listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
This incredibly rare species is on the brink of extinction. Without intensive conservation management the shore plover would already be extinct.
Captive breeding for release into the wild aims to supplement declining wild populations, while predator-free island sanctuaries provide safe habitat. There are only two captive breeding facilities globally for this threatened bird: Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre and The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust.
Author: Todd Jenkinson – Conservation Manager