1 Mar 2013

Nesting site of 'extinct' petrel discovered

8:49 pm on 1 March 2013

New Zealand researchers have solved a 150-year-old mystery surrounding a critically-endangered seabird.

The New Zealand storm petrel was thought to be extinct until a sighting 10 years ago.

Now ornithologists have found its breeding ground in the rugged interior of Little Barrier Island, just 80km north-east of Auckland, the ABC reports.

Auckland natural historian Chris Gaskin says a real surprise is the sort of area in which the small birds nest after spending most of their time at sea.

Mr Gaskin discovered the nesting site with Auckland University ecologist Matt Rayner.

"We were all just blown away with some of the areas which no one ever goes into. I mean these are spectacular gorges and Jurassic Park type landscape," Mr Gaskin said.

"It's in big forest. It's in a gorge quite a way up from the coast. I guess we sort of more expected sort of scrubby areas on the tops of headlands and on cliffs."

They expect to have a population count in late April.