Too Many Males Makes Breeding Unlikely for Magenta Petrel

male magenta petrel 01 Too Many Males Makes Breeding Unlikely for Magenta Petrel

It’s too bad there’s no match.com for birds. At this point that seems to be the only thing that’s can save New Zealand’s Magenta Petrel. This rare and critically endangered seabird (also known as the Chatham Island Taiko) is, like so many of us, having a really hard time getting lucky.

Not to be confused with New Zealand’s Storm Petrel, the Magenta was first discovered at sea in the late 1860s. In 1978, it was rediscovered on New Zealand’s Chathan Island but with an 80% population cut, courtesy of introduced species like pigs, cats and rodents competing for the Petrel’s nesting burrows.

If you thought finding a mate was hard, try these odds: of the known Magenta Petrels in existence, 95% of them are male. And if you weed out the potentially sterile ones or the shy ones (who knows…there could even be some gay ones), you’re left with somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 to 15 breeding pairs in the world.

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