Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

A 40-year-old Northern Giant Petrel from Macquarie Island is recovered in New Zealand

 131 40970 northern giant petrel 5 february 2021 Jamie Quirk

Northern Giant Petrel 131-40970 recovered in New Zealand, photograph by Jamie Quirk

A Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus (globally Least Concern) has been found 40 years after it was banded as a chick with number 131-40970 on 23 January 1981 by the Australian Antarctic Division at Mawson Point, Macquarie Island.  Forty years later, on 5 February 2021, the bird was recovered “at the end of its life” by a New Zealand Department of Conservation Biodiversity Ranger at Waikanae Beach, about 50 km north of Wellington, New Zealand, over 2200 km from its banding location.  According to the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS) the recovery is the oldest Australian-banded Northern Giant Petrel on record.

“This band represents the longest time elapsed between banding and recovery recorded for this species and is one of the oldest birds ever recovered under the Scheme.  The maximum longevity record of an Australian-banded bird is held by a Short-tailed Shearwater [Ardenna tenuirostris] which was recovered 48 years and 3.8 months after banding.  The ABBBS holds 13 400 banding records for Northern Giant Petrels, of which 564 have been recovered.  The average time elapsed between banding and recovery is 8 years and 7.6 months.”

Read more here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 19 March 2021