The diet of New Zealand falcons (Falco novaeseelandiae) on the Auckland Islands, New Zealand

Noel Hyde, Trevor H. Worthy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Prey remains and regurgitated pellets of New Zealand falcons Falco novaeseelandiae, from Adams I in the Auckland Is, were collected to determine the diet of this species in the subantarctic part of their range. Dissection of pellets revealed 1588 bones from 215 individuals of 18 species of birds preyed upon. Feathers associated with the remains supported the bone identifications. Rangle stones were also collected. The presence of procellariiform seabirds in the diet of falcons suggests some nocturnal hunting. While the single most frequent prey species was the bellbird (Anthornis melanura), Antarctic prion (Pachyptila desolata) and subantarctic diving petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix exsul) were also common. When measured by prey weight, endemic land birds such as Auckland I rail (Lewinia muelleri), Auckland I snipe (Coenocorypha aucklandica aucklandica), and Auckland I teal (Anas aucklandica) constituted a third of the prey. Like many island birds, these ground-dwelling species cannot co-exist with introduced mammalian predators, but survive despite predation by native falcons.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19-26
    Number of pages8
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Auckland Islands
    • Diet
    • Falco novaeseelandiae
    • New Zealand falcon
    • Prey remains
    • Rangle stones
    • Seabirds


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