Friday, 27 February 2015

Auckland snipe

Coenocorypha aucklandica

Photo by Kirk Zufelt (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Auckland snipe (en); narceja-austral-das-Auckland (pt); bécassine des Auckland (fr); chochita de las Auckland (es); Aucklandschnepfe (de)

Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae

This species is endemic to New Zealand, where it is found on the Auckland Islands, the Antipodes Islands and Jacquemart Island in the Campbell Island group.

These birds are 21-24 cm long and have a wingspan of 30-35 cm. They weigh 80-130 g.

The Auckland snipe is found in areas with dense ground cover, including tussock grasslands on cliff tops and moist scrubland.

They feed mainly on soil invertebrates, such as earthworms, amphipods, adult and larval insects and fly larvae and pupae.

Auckland snipes are mainly monogamous and polygyny also takes place. They breed in August-April. They nest on the ground, where the female lays 2 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for about 22 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and often each chick follows one of the parents who protects and feeds it for 41-65 days.

IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a small breeding range and the global population is estimated at 20.000-50.000 individuals. The Auckland snipe was affected by introduced predators, but current efforts to eradicate these predators and reintroduce the species to the Campbell islands halted previous population declines. In past there were local extinctions in several islands, due to the introduction of Pacific rats Rattus exulans, cats, pigs and wekas Gallirallus australis which prey on their eggs and young.

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