The mainland population of hoiho – the yellow-eyed penguin – is at its lowest in 27 years.
The Department of Conservation (DoC) and the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust have been counting nests on the South Island’s east coast, where about 30 percent of the birds are found.
About 250 pairs are on the nests this year. This number is down from 261 breeding pairs in 2016.
The Department of Conservation said the population of hoiho was last estimated at 1600 to 1800 breeding pairs, but following the recent count, it was now likely to be less than that.
It said hoiho were facing threats including climate change and disease.