August 2017
Read about the population census for Northern Buller's mollymawk, Northern royal albatross and Northern giant petrel at the Forty-Fours, Chatham Islands 2016.


Motuhara (Forty-Fours) is Maori Land and we are very grateful for the permission of the island owners to camp on the island to undertake this research.

A field team of three (Dave Bell, Dave Boyle and Hamish Tuanui-Chisholm) camped on the island from Dec 5th until Dec 9th 2016.

A full census of Northern Buller's Mollymawks on the island counted 17,682 nests sites. This total is higher than previous counts (2007-09 average 14,699 nests) and is likely to be a result of improved methodology rather than an increase in numbers.

A full census of Northern Royal Albatross on the island counted 1,400 birds incubating eggs. This is significantly lower than that recorded using aerial photography in 2006-2009: average of 2,209 breeding pairs (range 1,879-2,692 pairs). As Northern Royal Albatross are a biannual breeder, without knowing the productivity from last season, it is difficult to determine if this represents a true decline. However, it seems most likely that Northern Royal Albatross on Motuhara are declining.

Publication information

Bell, M.D., Bell, D.J., Boyle, D.P. & Tuanui-Chisholm, H. 2017. Motuhara Seabird research: December 2016. Report prepared by Wildlife Management International Limited for the Conservation Services Programme, Department of Conservation, Wellington. 14 p.


Conservation Services Programme
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10-420
Wellington 6143


Back to top