The Info List - Muttonbirding

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is the seasonal harvesting of the chicks of petrels, especially shearwater species, for food, oil and feathers by recreational or commercial hunters. Such hunting of petrels and other seabirds has occurred in various locations since prehistoric times, and there is evidence that many island populations have become extinct as a result. More recently ‘muttonbirding’ usually refers to the regulated and sustainable harvesting of shearwaters in Australia
and New Zealand.[1] These include the short-tailed shearwater, also known as the yolla or Australian muttonbird, in Bass Strait, Tasmania, as well as the sooty shearwater, also known as the titi or New Zealand muttonbird, on several small islands known as the Muttonbird Islands, scattered around Stewart Island
Stewart Island
in the far south of New Zealand.

Mutton-bird Egging on Mount Chappell Island (1893)


1 Australia 2 New Zealand 3 Muttonbirds 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Australia[edit] Licensed commercial harvesting of short-tailed shearwater chicks on the coast and islands of Tasmania
began in 1903, although it had long been a traditional form of subsistence harvesting by Tasmanian Aborigines and European settlers there. However, by the late 20th century the industry was declining due to falling demand for the product and reduced interest by younger indigenous people in the main area of activity, the islands of the Furneaux Group.[2] New Zealand[edit] The harvesting of sooty shearwater chicks on 36 islands, known as the Titi or Muttonbird Islands, around Rakiura (Stewart Island), is managed entirely by Rakiura Māori. There is some evidence that this harvest has been occurring since at least the 17th century.[3] Muttonbirds[edit] Muttonbird may refer to various seabirds, particularly petrels in the genus Puffinus, called shearwaters, where the young birds are harvested for food and oil by being extracted by hand from the nesting burrows before they fledge. Some species are:

Short-tailed shearwater, a seabird that nests in south-eastern Australia, particularly in the Furneaux Group
Furneaux Group
of islands in eastern Bass Strait Sooty shearwater, a seabird that nests mainly in New Zealand
New Zealand
and islands in the South Atlantic Ocean Wedge-tailed shearwater, found throughout the tropical and subtropical parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans Manx shearwater, breeding in the North Atlantic
North Atlantic
region, was harvested in historical times Cape Verde
Cape Verde
shearwater, breeding in the Cape Verde
Cape Verde
archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean, has declined because of over-harvesting Grey-faced petrel
Grey-faced petrel
(Pterodroma gouldi) Providence petrels, harvested to extinction on Norfolk Island
Norfolk Island
in the early 19th century but still existing on Lord Howe Island, were known as 'muttonbirds' or 'flying sheep'

See also[edit]

Faroese puffin


^ Anderson, Atholl. (1998). Origins of Procellariidae Hunting in the Southwest Pacific. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 6(4): 403-410. ^ Skira, I. (1996). "Aboriginal people and muttonbirding in Tasmania". In: M. Bomford & J. Caughley (eds),Sustainable use of wildlife by Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders, Bureau of Resource Sciences: Canberra. ^ Hawke, David; Newman, Jamie; Moller, Henrik; & Wixon, John. (2003). A possible early muttonbirder’s fire on Poutama, a Rakiura titi island, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 33(2): 497-507.

Further reading[edit]

Adam-Smith, Patsy. (1965). Moonbird People. Rigby: Adelaide. (About the Furneaux group of islands in Bass Strait, the muttonbirds that inhabit them and the people who make their living from them).

External links[edit]

Keep the Titi Forever Migration of sooty shearwater from New Zealand
New Zealand
to the north Pacific - TerraNature article Muttonbird recipes Muttonbirding
in New Zealand Stop muttonbird slaughter - AACT article A Seaweed Pantry - Tales from Te Papa Episode 100 - A short YouTube video about m