There’s always an abundance of diverse seabirds fluttering around in the Marine Park.

The diverse number of seabirds seen in the Hauraki Gulf makes it a globally significant seabird hotspot! Gannets, petrels, penguins, shags/cormorants, gulls and terns all breed in the area. Four species breed only here (Buller's shearwaters, New Zealand fairy terns, Pycroft's petrels and Black petrels) and nowhere else in New Zealand or the rest of the world!

Seabirds that you will always see on our Safari

Australasian Gannet
​(Morus serrator

Australasian Gannets are black and white birds with a yellow head and long bills. These birds are spectacular to watch hunt, and terrifying if you’re a fish! The Australasian Gannet hunts fish by diving from a height into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. They can dive from a height of 30 metres and achieve speeds of 140 km/h as they strike the water – all of which makes for entertaining viewing from the Dolphin Explorer, particularly when there are hundreds of them.

Shearwaters

There are five species that can be spotted out on the Gulf. These are the Buller's, Flesh-footed, Fluttering, Little and Sooty shearwaters. These birds are cheeky scavengers who know to follow the whales as whales will disturb the fish and then the shearwaters can swoop down and catch them. So, if you see shearwaters feed in in a group then there's a good chance a whale could be nearyby. 

Petrels

There are also many species of petrel in the Hauraki Gulf ranging from the Black Petrel to the famous NZ Storm Petrel. We commonly see their relative, the White-faced Storm Petrel (also known as Jesus birds) who dance along the surface of the water as they sniff out zooplankton to feed upon. Rare visitors such as the Southern Giant Petrel are always spectacular to see!