email a friend
printable version
 Coenocorypha aucklandica

This taxon is Not Recognised as a species by BirdLife International.

Taxonomic source(s)
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

Taxonomic note
Coenocorypha aucklandica, C. huegeli, C. barrierensis and C. iredalei (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as C. aucklandica following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

23 cm. Small, plump variegated brown wader. Bill brown and slightly drooping, 5 cm; top of head striped black and brown/reddish brown; rest of body mottled black and brown/reddish brown; female larger than male. Similar spp. none in range. Voice Male calls low trerk, trerk, trerk and queeyoo, queeyoo, queeyoo.

Distribution and population
Coenocorypha aucklandica is endemic to New Zealand. Nominate aucklandica occurs in the Auckland Islands (excluding the main island), huegeli is known from the Snares Islands (3 km2), and meinertzhagenae occurs in the Antipodes Islands (20 km2). Races from Stewart Island (iredalei) and Little Barrier Island (barrierensis) have been driven extinct by invasive species (Tennyson and Martinson 2006). In 1997, a tiny population was discovered on Jacquemart Island (0.2 km2), in the Campbell Island group (Anon 1998a). The total population is estimated to number 29,100 birds and is considered stable (Higgins and Davies 1996). The Auckland Islands hold two thirds of the population.

The species favours areas of dense ground cover where it feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates. It nests on the ground (hence its vulnerability to introduced mammals) and lays its eggs between August and January (the exact date varies depending on island group).

Many local extinctions have occurred in the past, probably caused by various introductions of Pacific rat Rattus exulans, cats, pigs and Weka Gallirallus australis (Higgins and Davies 1996). Such introductions brought about the extinction of two further island subspecies, iredalei and barrierensis, while R. exulans probably caused the extinction of the species from mainland New Zealand around 1,000 years ago (Heather and Robertson 1997).

Conservation Actions Underway
No species-specific actions are known, but the tiny known Campbell Islands population is thought to be expanding following the eradication of rats from the main island and there have been subsequent records of the species recolonising. Conservation Actions Proposed
Advocate the eradication of cats and pigs from Auckland Island. Monitor its status on the Antipodes Islands and ensure that mice do not become a threat in the future. Monitor island populations opportunistically and consider reintroductions to predator-free islands off the New Zealand mainland if appropriate.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Heather, B. D.; Robertson, H. A. 1997. The field guide to the birds of New Zealand. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Higgins, P. J.; Davies, S. J. J. F. 1996. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds vol 3: snipe to pigeons. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Tennyson, A. J. D.; Martinson, P. 2006. Extinct Birds of New Zealand. Te Papa Press, Wellington.

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Khwaja, N., Taylor, J.

Miskelly, C.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Coenocorypha aucklandica. Downloaded from on 04/07/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/07/2015.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Not Recognised
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author (Gray, 1845)