Bullers Mollymawk

Diomedea epomophora

Length: 76-81 cm

Wingspan: 205-213

Distribution: New Zealand endemic. Ranges to Australia and east to S. America. Nests on Solander, Snares, Chathams and Three Kings Islands.

Food: Braying and cackling.

Voice: Harsh croaking and braying.

Breeding: One egg, shared incubation for 70 days. Fledging probably four to five months. Pair for life.

Buller’s Mollymawk is a grey-headed mollymawk with a black-sided bill and so may only be confused with the Yellow-nosed or Grey-headed Mollymawks. The Yellow-nosed has a yellow stripe only along the top of the bill while Buller’s is striped top and bottom. Buller’s Mollymawk also differs from the Grey-headed by having a clear white cap that contrasts with the grey head.

Buller’s breed only in New Zealand waters with about 8,500 pairs at the Snares, 5,000 pairs at the Solander Islands and 25,000 pairs at the Chathams. A few pairs nest at the Three Kings Islands. Nesting begins at the Snares about January but two to three months earlier at the more northerly Chathams. One egg is laid and both parents incubate for about 70 days. Snares Island birds hatch late March early April and fledge during August and September. Parents regurgitate food for the young. Fledging is not precisely known but is probably four to five months.

Buller’s Mollymawks range around all New Zealand waters and across the Pacific to the eastern coasts of South America. Some are also seen along the south-eastern coasts of Australia and Tasmania.
They feed on fish, krill and squid scooping them from the surface or making shallow dives.