Credit: Kyle Morrison/NIWA

Posted on 18 October 2021

Seabirds, not treebirds for this year’s elections

We are again officially throwing our support behind the toroa/Antipodean albatross for Bird of the Year/Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau. Last year, toroa came second to the kākāpō – this year, we’re aiming for first place.

Forest & Bird started the competition in 2005 to raise awareness for our native birds, their habitats, and the threats they face. In a recent announcement that ruffled the feathers of seabirds and treebirds alike, the pekapeka-tou-roa/long-tailed bat was granted entry into this year’s Bird of the Year.

As a marine research programme, we are always going to vote for a seabird. Aotearoa New Zealand is the seabird capital of the world, after all. Sadly, 90% of our seabirds are classified as threatened with or at risk of extinction.

Click here to Vote Toroa

Vote seabirds, not treebirds

The voting system for BOTY involves picking up to five species from this list, then you rank them before submitting your vote. We’re asking you to make toroa your first choice, followed by four other seabird species in the competition.

Follow our BOTY campaign on our social media channels, find links at the bottom of this page.

Vote for seabirds – not treebirds, not bats – this Bird of the Year.

Voting opened today 9am and closes 5pm on Sunday 31 October. Vote here

Why are we voting toroa/Antipodean albatross?

The Antipodean albatross represents all of New Zealand’s albatross species in this competition. We are voting toroa because our Defining marine habitat use by seabirds project found that Campbell albatross have a much larger range than initially thought. Campbell albatross only breed at Campbell Island, the most southerly of our subantarctic islands.

Using modelling methods and large amounts of seabird tracking data, researchers found that some Campbell albatross may migrate to South America following breeding, while others stay close to New Zealand or Australia. This new information about migration patterns has significant implications for assessing the risk of fishing activity to Campbell albatross. For example, albatross that migrate to South America will be exposed to different levels of fishing risk compared to birds remaining in Australasia.

Winning Bird of the Year 2021 will bring toroa greater recognition and increased public awareness to the plight of all albatross.

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