New Zealand is the pelagic birding capital of the world. It also has around 80 endemic species of birds.
To appreciate bird watching in New Zealand one has to understand a little of New Zealand's history. With the destruction of New Zealand's lowland bush, dense jungle like forest, which began with the arrival here of the Polynesians a thousand years ago and was accelerated by the arrival of Europeans a couple of hundred years ago, went a good many of New Zealand's unique birds, such as the Moa and the Huia. Although New Zealand is still a heavily forested country in the remote and mountainous areas, these forests are infested with introduced animals such as goats, deer, rats, mustelids and the Australian brush tailed possum, which pose a real threat to New Zealand's remaining endemic birds. Until recently, it was thought that the only way to preserve New Zealand's unique bird life was to re-establish them on pest free offshore islands. This idea has now been extended to create mainland islands within the vast conservation estate. Hopefully, this strategy will reverse the decline. As the native birds decline, the ecological niches are being filled by birds that just arrive here from Australia, birds such as the spurwinged plover, black-fronted dotterel and welcome swallow, or those introduced by British settlers.
We have so few birds here compared with, say, Australia. I would I like to say that every one of them is valued but mynas Acridotheres tristis introduced from India and magpies Gymnorhina tibicen from Australia are not easy to defend.
However, few New Zealanders even get to see a Kiwi, let alone a Kokako or Kakapo. In most of the settled areas one sees birds introduced here from Europe in the nineteeth century, such as blackbirds, thrushes and finches. However, New Zealand does have a very high percentage of endemic birds. More than eighty five percent of all taxa are endemic. It is just that they are a bit thin on the ground and therefore take some effort or guidance to see. To observe New Zealand`s endemic bird life one has to either visit the offshore islands or visit the vast conservation estate, information about which may be found on the Department of Conservation web site or the birding section of the New Zealand Birds web site.
New Zealand’s rich marine environment provides for the abundance and diversity of its sea bird life. The New Zealand region extends from the subtropical waters around the Kermadec Islands to the subantarctic waters of the Campbell Plateau. Where the subtropical waters and subantarctic waters meet, the subtropical convergence, areas of upwelling are created where nutrients, fish and seabirds are abundant. One such area is along the Kaikōura coast.
There are 97 species of smaller petrels and of these 49 have been recorded in New Zealand seas. The strategic position of our islands strung across the prevailing westerly winds accounts for the many varieties of petrels found in this sector of the Pacific Ocean. The multitude of small islands scattered around New Zealand provide suitable nesting habitat for some 32 species of petrel which breed from the Kermadecs in the North to Campbell Island some 2400 miles to the south. Other species such as the blue petrel visit New Zealand waters on a regular basis. Petrels breed once a year in large colonies on remote offshore islands. However, most of the main mountain ranges in New Zealand used to support extensive petrel colonies before the advent of man a thousand years ago and the mammalian predators they brought with them.
On still nights the southern oceans can twinkle with the tiny lights of phosphorescent zooplankton rafted in millions upon the water. Since many of these animals disappear during the day, most petrels feed at night. During the summer when the sun never sets, enormous blooms of the crustacean, Euphausia superba, attract vast concourses of sea birds to the cold polar seas.
North Island - Firth of Thames [Miranda]
An hours drive from Auckland, Miranda is the focal point of the seabird coast. Thousands of waders can be encountered from October to March including Wrybill, New Zealand Dotterel, Banded Dotterel, Red-necked Stint, Terek Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and large numbers of Godwits and Knot. NB A number of Fatbirder correspondents report that their cars have been broken into when visiting this site - please do NOT leave anything on show in your car, such as bags or optics.
North Island - Tiritiri Matangi Island
Only a short ferry ride from Auckland city centre this predator free island is a glimpse of the paradise lost when european settlers introduced rats, possums and stoats to the fragile aotearoan ecosystem. Highlights include Takahe, Kokako, Stitchbird, Saddleback and Little Spotted Kiwi. One of the Fatbirder's most favourite places in the world!
South Island - Eglington Valley and Milford Sound
A stunning drive with plenty of opportunities to look for Yellowhead, Kaka, Rifleman, Yellow-crowned Parakeet, Brown Creeper, Kea, Rock Wren, New Zealand Falcon, Blue Duck and Fjordland Crested Penguin.
South Island - Haast Pass
Midway between Haast and Wanaka, on the South Island, an early morning visit to this ancient Red Beech forest should reveal Yellowhead, Kaka, Rifleman, Yellow-crowned Parakeet and Brown Creeper.
South Island - Kaikoura
Snuggled under a stunning mountain range this coastal town is only 5km from the continental shelf which means that Albatross, Petrels, Shearwaters and cetaceans are abundant, especially April - August. Get a boat out and seawatching will never be quite the same again, expect nostril to nostril encounters with Royal, Wandering, Shy, Salvins, Bullers and Black-browed Albatross, Westland Black Petrel, Cape Pigeon, Fairy Prion, Giant Petrels and more.
South Island - Otago Peninsula
Easily accessible from Dunedin on the South Island the Otago offers colonies of Royal Albatross, Yellow-eyed Penguin, Spotted Shag, Stewart Island Shag and plenty of seabird action offshore.
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 355
National Bird - Kiwi Apteryx mantelli
Number of endemics: 77
63 True Endemics:
Brown Kiwi Apteryx australis Great Spotted Kiwi Apteryx haastii Little Spotted Kiwi Apteryx owenii Okarito Brown Kiwi Apteryx rowi Brown Teal Anas aucklandica Brown Teal Anas chlorotis Campbell Island Teal Anas nesiotis New Zealand Scaup Aythya novaeseelandiae Blue Duck Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos Auckland Island Merganser Mergus australis Paradise Shelduck Tadorna variegata Fiordland Penguin Eudyptes pachyrhynchus Snares Penguin Eudyptes robustus Erect-crested Penguin Eudyptes sclateri Yellow-eyed Penguin Megadyptes antipodes New Zealand Grebe Poliocephalus rufopectus Campbell Shag Phalacrocorax campbelli Rough-faced Shag Phalacrocorax carunculatus Stewart Shag Phalacrocorax chalconotus Auckland Shag Phalacrocorax colensoi Pitt Shag Phalacrocorax featherstoni Chatham Shag Phalacrocorax onslowi Spotted Shag Phalacrocorax punctatus Bounty Shag Phalacrocorax ranfurlyi Weka Gallirallus australis Chatham Islands Rail Gallirallus modestus Auckland Rail Lewinia muelleri Southern Takahe Porphyrio hochstetteri South Island Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus finschi Variable Oystercatcher Haematopus unicolor Black Stilt Himantopus novaezelandiae Wry-bill Anarhynchus frontalis Red-breasted Plover Charadrius obscurus Shore Dotterel Thinornis novaeseelandiae New Zealand Snipe Coenocorypha aucklandica Chatham Snipe Coenocorypha pusilla Black-billed Gull Larus bulleri Black-fronted Tern Sterna albistriata New Zealand Pigeon Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae Yellow-fronted Parakeet Cyanoramphus auriceps Chatham Parakeet Cyanoramphus forbesi Malherbes's Parakeet Cyanoramphus malherbi Red-fronted Parakeet Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae Antipodes Parakeet Cyanoramphus unicolor Kaka Nestor meridionalis Kea Nestor notabilis Kakapo Strigops habroptila Long-tailed Koel Urodynamis taitensis Rifleman Acanthisitta chloris Alpine Rock Wren Xenicus gilviventris New Zealand Bellbird Anthornis melanura Stitch-bird Notiomystis cincta Tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae Pipipi Finschia novaeseelandiae Chatham Island Gerygone Gerygone albofrontata Yellowhead Mohoua ochrocephala Kokako Callaeas cinereus New Zealand Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa New Zealand Robin Petroica australis New Zealand Tit Petroica macrocephala Chatham Island Robin Petroica traversi Fernbird Megalurus punctatus New Zealand Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae
14 Birds which only breed in New Zealand:
Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora Buller's Albatross Thalassarche bulleri Black Petrel Procellaria parkinsoni Westland Petrel Procellaria westlandica Chatham Islands Petrel Pterodroma axillaris White-necked Petrel Pterodroma cervicalis Cook's Petrel Pterodroma cookii Mottled Petrel Pterodroma inexpectata Magenta Petrel Pterodroma magentae Pycroft's Petrel Pterodroma pycrofti Buller's Shearwater Puffinus bulleri Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia Hutton's Shearwater Puffinus huttoni Double-banded Plover Charadrius bicinctus
Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder
Atlas of Bird Distribution in New Zealand 1999-2004
CJR Robertson, P Hyvonen, MJ Fraser and CR Pickard; 533 pages, 2100 maps, figs. Ornithological Society of NZ
ISBN: 170842Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds of New Zealand: Locality Guide
Stuart Chambers 408 pages, col photos, illus. Arun Books Distributed by NHBS
ISBN: 0473073277Buy this book from NHBS.com
Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand
…and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica Edited by EG Turbott 4th Edition New Zealand Ornithological Society
ISBN: 9781877385599Buy this book from NHBS.com
Collins Field Guide: Birds of New Zealand, Hawaii, Central and West Pacific
By Ber Van Perlo | 256 pages | 95 colour plates | Harper Collins | Hardcover | 2011
ISBN: 9780007287383Buy this book from NHBS.com
Field Guide to New Zealand Seabirds
Brian Parkinson. Paperback - 136 pages (31 August, 2000) New Holland Publishers (NZ)
ISBN: 9781869661502Buy this book from NHBS.com
Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand
Barrie Heather & Hugh Robertson. Paperback - 168 pages (11 January, 2001) Oxford University Press See the Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 019850831XBuy this book from NHBS.com
Flight of the Huia
Ecology and Conservation of New Zealand's Frogs, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals Kerry-Jayne Wilson 411 pages, col photos, illus. Canterbury University Press
ISBN: 0908812523Buy this book from NHBS.com
Photographic Guide to Birds of New Zealand
Geoff Moon Series: PHOTOGRAPHIC GUIDES SERIES (NEW HOLLAND NATURAL HISTORY) 140 pages, 210 col photos. New Holland Publishers
ISBN: 1877246581Buy this book from NHBS.com
CD of NZ bird songs produced by the Mount Bruce Captive Breeding Project with all proceeds going to them.
The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds
Geoff Moon Series: REED FIELD GUIDE SERIES 256 pages, col photos throughout. Reed Publishing
ISBN: 0790005042Buy this book from NHBS.com
Guides & Tour Operators
Akaroa Harbour Cruises
Some of the wildlife you will see on the cruise include: Sea Birds usually seen: Little Blue Penguin, Spotted Shag, Black Back Gull, Red Bill Gull, White Fronted Tern. Often seen: Great Cormorant, Little Black Shag, White Throated Little Black Shag, Pied Little Black Shag. Birds sometimes seen: Gannet, Fluttering Shearwater, Hutton`s Shearwater, Northern Giant Petrel, Cape Pigeon, Yellow Eyed Penguin, Mollymawk.
Aurora Charters - Stewart Island
Local birders willing to show visiting birders their area…
Catlins Wildlife Trackers
We live in The Catlins, New Zealand, and run in-depth natural history and wildlife ecotours and offer accommodation options. We also offer both guided and unguided overnight walks on private tracks and creative workshops and conservation work opportunities. Our ecotourism tours emphasise rare wildlife viewing and nature education…
Dunedin Marine Charters
Some nice photos of birds which could be seen if you organise a pelagic charter with this company.
Eco Tours Milford Sound
Welcome to Eco Tours Milford Sound - an amazing journey that will take you into spectacular Fiordland National Park, a boutique Milford Sound Boat Cruise and an experience of a lifetime…
Elm Wildlife Tours
Elm Wildlife Tours is based in Dunedin and offers Nature and Wildlife Tours of the South-eastern Coast of New Zealand. Our tours guide visitors to some of the most spectacular wildlife spots in the area including our private conservation areas, where close-up viewing of some of the World's rarest wildlife is achieved…
Farewell Spit Eco-tours
Welcome to Farewell Spit Eco Tours - Tour Operators to the world famous Farewell Spit. Gannet Colony, Wader Watch, Cape Farewell and many other eco tours in Golden Bay, Nelson, New Zealand.
An unforgettable experience for all birders, Stunning scenery, 100+ species, North and South Islands, 2 pelagic trips, See a representative of New Zealand’s six endemic families (wrens, kiwi, wattlebirds, parrots, stitchbirds, mohouas), 3 chances to see wild kiwi, 2 chances to see kokako, Numerous endangered species, Expert guides , Limited numbers.
French Pass Sea Safaris
Welcome to the ultimate nature adventure. Wild and naturally beautiful French Pass and d'Urville Island are the jewel in the crown of the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. Rich in wildlife and steeped in history, the area inspires all who visit. A spectacular and breathtaking drive or scenic flight will bring you to our door…
Cape Kidnappers safari experience takes you to Hawke's Bay Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony - the world's largest, most accessible Gannet nesting place. It's the only way of being taken right to within a few feet of these remarkable birds - there is no walking required!
Kapiti Island Nature Tours
Your best chance to encounter Little Spotted Kiwi in the wild, and other endangered native birds like Takahe, Kaka, Weka, Tieke (Saddleback), Kereru, Kokako, Hihi, and Toutouwai | Genuine Maori hospitality | Native forest | Overnight Kiwi spotting tours | Guided nature walks | Conservation | Bird watching | Maori culture and storytelling | Accommodation and meals in our Kapiti Nature Lodge | Life-long nature-inspired experiences to treasure…
Kiwi Wildlife Tours
Birds are our business! We know what they look like and sound like, and of course where to find them. Come with us in a small group and we will show you the secrets of New Zealand`s unique birds, bats and marine mammals. At the same time, you will see some of the most wild and beautiful places on earth. And in comfort and style! Our tours are an opportunity to learn about our native fauna, especially for wildlife enthusiasts or people with little knowledge who would like to learn. We teach natural history skills, photography and sound recording. Tours are particularly suited to people already involved in bird watching in their own countries but who would like to travel outside their area of knowledge with a group of like-minded people.
Mik’s Eco Tours
With a lifetime interest in Birdlife, Mik Peryer has an extensive knowledge of the local birdlife in the Waikane Area. Now retired, Mik offers the opportunity for you to get up close and personal with the wild birdlife of the Waikane Estuary…
Monarch Wildlife Cruises
m.v. Monarch cruises to Taiaroa Head at the entrance to Dunedin's harbour, where nine species of seabirds and New Zealand Fur Seals breed. Taiaroa is the only place on earth where the Royal Albatross, the world's largest seabird, nest on a mainland but only from Monarch can all the habitats be seen.
Myths & Legends Eco-Tours
Come and enjoy the sights, the bird song and the amazing bio-diversity that the Sounds has to offer - the Dolphins, seals, fish, birds, and beautiful podacarp forests…
Nature Quest New Zealand
We are specialists in custom designed & private guided birdwatching trips for individuals and couples tailored to your specific requirements and interests. Self drive consultancy for birding trips, custom group tours & ground agency services for overseas birding/nature tour companies and conservation societies…
Nature Travel Specialists
Nature Travel Specialists believes that travel is most enjoyable when it expands the horizons of both visitor and visited, when both give and receive from each other. With this in mind we design itineraries that enable our travelers to explore the natural areas of the world, in the company of English-speaking local tour guides who know their country and region intimately…
New Zealand Land and Pelagic Trips
I am a Kiwi by birth and inclination, and, as an excuse to get back home and to show New Zealand and its birds to others, I run a birding tour to New Zealand in November of alternating years. I charge enough to cover costs; making money on these tours is not my priority. I like to keep the group to 8-10 in size. We stay at quality accommodations and the food is outstanding; the trips have been described more than once as culinary tours of New Zealand with some birding thrown in, or as eating our way around New Zealand. But seriously, the quality of New Zealand restaurant food and wines is outstanding these days. The tours are not physically strenuous, but we do keep moving, and so you must be reasonably active and in fairly good shape.
Ohiwa Harbour Tours
Fully-dedicated pelagic bird-watching cruises through some of the richest known areas for seabirds in the world…
Ruggedy Range™ Wilderness Experience is a small ecotourism business based on Stewart Island, in New Zealand`s deep south. We specialise in eco-friendly guided nature walks/tramps, kiwi spotting trips and bird watching trips on Stewart Island, Ulva Island and Rakiura National Park. We will soon be introducing guided sea kayaking options, further information will be shown on this website as details are finalised…
We can offer birders a variety of charters to suit interests, budgets and time, Please feel free to contact us as we are happy to discuss your birding visit to Stewart Island or the smaller islands such s Ulva Island which is now mammal free and home to an increasing population of threatened forest species relocated from other places. We can assist with all local details including transport, accommodation, places to visit and also Kiwi watching as well as pelagics offering two, or possibly three species of penguin plus petrels, shearwaters, prions and albatrosses.
Tussock & Beech Ecotours
Our guided nature tours provide an unforgettable experience of a clean, green, pure New Zealand landscape. They enter three different conservation areas in a remote and beautiful part of Canterbury, New Zealand. See nature at its best…
Ulva's Guided Walks
What better introduction to Rakiura (Stewart Island) could you wish for than a guided walk with a direct descendant of the first peoples of this beautiful Island?
Waikanae Estuary Bird Tours
The Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve is home to over 66 species of birds (at some time during the year), many of these can be seen in their natural and native habitats during a Bird tour with Mik Peryer.
White Heron Tours
The Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve is a sanctuary to most of the bird life that you will see in the South West Heritage Area. The pristine rainforest, predominantly Kahikatea, stands tall, and shos off it`s untouched beauty. During the summer months, the majestic Kotuku (White Heron) can be viewed, in all it`s pluming glory as it nests in the swamp forests on the banks of the Waitangi Roto Stream. The Kotuku Ngutu Papa (Royal Spoonbill) and the Kawapaka (Little Black Shag) also take advantage of this prime spot to rear their young…
Wrybill Birding Tours
Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ started out as a couple of birding mates, deciding that there was a gaping hole in the bird-guiding market in New Zealand. What was need was a group that was really keen, knew their New Zealand birds and birding sites inside out, and was based in New Zealand, with access to up to date information on the New Zealand birding scene.
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2006 [03 March] - Steve & Ann Newman
New Zealand’s birds are a strange mixture of endemics, seabirds, and introductions. The balance of nature has been badly upset by the arrival of man (especially Europeans) and the animals and plants he has brought with him…
2006 [10 October] - David Shackelford
…The secretive Fernbird eventually gave its position away from dense scrub and parasitic Long-tailed Cuckoos called raucously from the forest interior. From the pinnacle of a stilted tower in the heart of the tropical forest canopy we watched spectacular large parrots locally called the Kaka feeding from the moss-laden branches and bromeliads while below us the almost imperceptible calls of the diminutive Rifleman were drowned into the orchestra of forest sounds…
2007 [01 January] - Greg Baker
This report covers a four week holiday in New Zealand leaving the UK on December 8th 2006 and returning on January 8th 2007. The holiday was not wholly birding related and my wife and I also found time for some horse riding, white-water rafting, jet-boating and walking in the mountains. Rather than provide details on all the birds seen, this report is intended to provide an update on already published material related to finding endemic and other scarce bird species on the main islands…
2007 [04 April] - Duan Biggs
This was my first trip to New Zealand, and I decided to focus on South Island only. The objectives of the trip were to find as many of the endemics and specials as possible whilst enjoying the incredible scenery that South Island has to offer…
2007 [06 June] - Douglas Futuyma
Our birding tour occurred early in the New Zealand winter because it preceded a conference on evolutionary biology in Christchurch. Doug and Bob are faculty members in this field, at Stony Brook University [New York] and the University of Florida, respectively; both are avid birders. Lynne, who works in urban and regional planning, is a very patient, understanding nonbirder, and a salutary civilizing influence…
2008 [12 December] - Rosemary Royle
In 2008 we (my husband Peter and myself) spent about 8 weeks in New Zealand – roughly 15 days in North Island, 20 days in South Island, 4 days on Stewart Island and an 11 day cruise to the Sub-Antarctic Islands. This balance seemed about right for a leisurely bird-watching trip with some sight-seeing thrown in and gave us enough flexibility to cope with changes in plan and inclement weather…
2009 [11 November] - Chris Gaskins & Guy Dutson
The 2009 Birdquest tour to New Zealand will best be remembered for fantastic views of kiwis, seabirds and the endemic forest birds. Most of New Zealand has intensive agriculture and much of the native forest has little value for birds unless introduced predators are actively controlled…
2009 [12 December] - Mark Finn
This was our first full birding tour of New Zealand including North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. It was an outstanding success recording 167 species including 72 endemic birds and 42 seabirds including terns and cormorants. The vast majority of the accessible key species were seen with the only miss being Okarito Kiwi which was down to weather conditions. The highlights were many and scattered throughout the trip with the Southern Brown Kiwi experience on Stewart Island and the squabbling Chatham Albatross off the Pyramid Rock coming to mind…
2010 [02 February] - Brent Stephenson
We did a Hauraki Gulf trip with a group on 10 Feb with Brett Rathe on “Norma Jean”. Probably the most NZ storm-petrels I’ve ever seen on a day trip with an estimated 25-30+ individuals. At our first chumming location to the west of Little Barrier a NZSP was almost the first bird to arrive before the chum was even in the water, and we then had at least two more come in over the next hour or so…
2010 [11 November] - Nigel Redman
A total of 148 species included all four endemic families (kiwis, New Zealand wrens, wattlebirds and the family newly created for the Stitchbird), no fewer than 69 regional endemics and an impressive 29 species of tubenoses (including eight species of albatrosses, seven shearwaters, three pterodromas, three Procellaria petrels and two storm petrels)…
2012 [01 January] - Scott Bowers
Comprehensive sites, and bird photos…
2012 [11 November] - Chris Benesh
…We were fortunate to see two members of this secretive family. There were other endemic families, too. We saw both Kea and Kaka, two members of the Strigopidae or New Zealand parrots, and we also saw the two extant members of the Acanthisittidae, the New Zealand Wrens…
2012 [11 November] - Mark Ayre
…The New Zealand Shovelers were very tame being used to trucks continually driving to the quarry located on the island. Some of the Gray Ducks had young along with the Black Swans. The tide was quickly heading out but we were able to catch up with a flock of Wrybills and Bar-tailed Godwits….
2012 [12 December] - Ian Southey
…After a relaxed picnic lunch, we headed across to Pakiri Beach. There we found a pair of the New Zealand Fairy Tern, now the rarest bird in the country with only about 35 of these tiny terns alive at present. Also present were several pairs each of New Zealand Dotterel and Variable Oystercatcher at all stages of nesting….
2012 [12 December] - South Island - Stephen Burch
Unlike some of my recent trips, this was 100% holiday, with no business component at all! With only three weeks available, we decided to concentrate entirely on South Island, as it had the best scenery and probably the best selection of birds. Perhaps we will return to visit North Island one day….
2013 [12 December] - Dion Hobcroft
…Beyond the thousands of Bar-tailed Godwits and hundreds of Red Knots, White-fronted Terns, Black-billed Gulls, and South Island Pied Oystercatchers, we found an excellent diversity of much scarcer East Asian shorebirds….
2013 [12 December] - John Hornbuckle - Sub-Antarctic Islands
I visited New Zealand in Nov 1999 and saw almost all the landbirds except for Kiwis, only seeing the Brown (on Stewart Is). I had long wanted to do Heritage Expeditions’ annual Sub-Antarctic Islands cruise but had been deterred by its high cost. This year I decided to go for it after receiving a discount. I flew to New Zealand a few days early to try for two more Kiwis and do a pelagic off North Island before the cruise. I contacted Dani Lopez-Velasco who was doing a land trip with 4 Spanish friends before joining the cruise as BirdQuest’s leader. He kindly invited me to join him on their visit to Tiritiri Island and then came north with me to Kerikeri for the Whangaroa Pelagic, booked with Detlef Davies (email@example.com). After this we drove to Aukland airport to return the hired vehicle – Dani flew to Invercargill the next day while I spent the morning photographing the large number of coastal birds at nearby Ambury Farm Regional Park, in walking distance of my accommodation, before flying south to join the cruise, sharing a cabin with Keith Cowton, an excellent birder and companion.
2014 [11 November] - Mark Hanger & Dan Lane
...when no one was looking!); the delightful little Rifleman that we encountered several times in the forests of the South Island; the jazzy little Tomtits in their tuxedoes and happy tunes; the diminutive Little Penguins that gathered in rafts at last light near Stewart Island to fish; the attractive Silver-eyes as they hopped about like warblers; the unique Stitchbird whose loud, electric song echoed in the forests of Tiritiri Matangi Island; the bouncy South Island (Rock) Wren that hid like a mouse among the rocks at Homer Tunnel...
2015 [01 January] - Erik Forsyth
...After some time, we eventually had a stroke of luck when a Fairy Tern flew in unannounced and landed 100 metres away on a sandbar, allowing good scope looks as it preened – a huge relief for us as there are about only twenty pairs that breed in New Zealand.
2015 [04 April] - Pete Aley - New Zealand: North & South Islands with Singapore
This report outlines a five week birding trip which I undertook with my wife, Alison Rowntree, travelling from north to south New Zealand, and with a brief stop-over in Singapore. We chose to go in March and April to allow us to combine leave from two different years and maximise our time in the country. Although this meant a few key species were not seen, it gave us a good period of time to see both islands and their birds, in a relaxed fashion, and generally proved to be a good season to visit.
2015 [11 November] - Erik Forsyth
2015 [12 December] - Dion Hobcroft
We all met up mid-morning in Auckland, at a hotel close to the international airport. On the road quickly, and although the tide was not perfect, we stopped by the near Mangere Wetlands and were soon starting our list of New Zealand birds...
2016 [01 January] - David & Amanda Mason - Australia & New Zealand
We loved Australia 4 years ago & New Zealand in 1998 and with so much to see, decided to combine two trips into one and visit some new areas; after all it is a long way to go for just a couple of weeks!
Glen Holland - Codfish Island New Zealand
…Project Leader, Ron Moorhouse, is currently studying the success of predator control around kaka nest sites in relation to fledging success and required the females to boost his mainland study population of 5 breeding pairs and numerous spare males…
Places to Stay
Bushy Point Fernbirds
Bushy Point Fernbirds offers the most reliable views of South Island fernbird Megalurus punctatus in New Zealand and in a unique habitat. Only 5 minute walk from car. This private reserve is minutes from Invercargill. Jenny and Ian Gamble`s residence is on site and they have B&B accommodation available. The reserve is 13 acres of forest, with progression to jointed rush meadows, and the New River Estuary. This is the ideal place to stay overnight before or after a trip to Stewart Island Fiordland or the Catlins coast…
Kakapo Cottage - Stewart Island
Fabulous views of Half Moon Bay and native forest reserve. 5 minutes walk to Oban town centre and main attractions. 5 minutes walk to Golden Bay and the water taxi to Ulva Island - the only place in the world you can view the rare Kakapo parrot and many other rare native flora and fauna. Many native birds coming right up to the house and close by in Native Forest. Wake up to the sea glistening in the bay and the birds singing. Views from master bedroom, lounge, bunk room and sunny deck. Stewart Island is home to our newest national park…
Matua Gardens Retreat - Robinsons Bay, Akaroa Harbour
Private, romantic, luxury accommodation overlooking the bay and harbour. Matua Gardens Retreat offers personalised packages for only one couple or single at a time. Sue & Richard Lovett offer a warm welcome and invite you to indulge all your senses in this haven from everyday life. We are happy to join you for a chat or leave you to relax in your own way. It's all about our guests. Opened in 2006 after renovation of the historic sawmiller's cottage, Matua Gardens Retreat is furnished to reflect the heritage and environment while providing a high level of comfort and indulgence. Nature meets nurture. Luxury in a naturally beautiful setting…
St Arnaud House - Nelson Lakes
Native NZ birds such as the Tui & Bellbird sing throughout the beech forest; stay still in one spot for a while and watch for the friendly South Island Robin. Guests have St. Arnaud House to themselves as we live in the small classic kiwi bach (cottage) which is adjacent to the main house. Our focus is providing a friendly, relaxed and flexible high level of service to our guests…
Stewart Island Lodge
An unspoiled Island retreat nestled in the natural beauty of a bush setting in Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island Lodge has unsurpassed views of the bay and surrounding hills. The large garden is host to many native birds, including native parrots, and many birds can be viewed right from our terrace.
Te Kauri Birding Lodge
Te Kauri Birding Lodge caters for up to 2 couples at the home of Karen Baird and Chris Gaskin, operators of Kiwi Wildlife Tours NZ. Te Kauri is located 45 minutes north of Auckland, and three kilometres along a quiet ridge top road off State Highway One. We are within easy travelling of all Auckland and northern New Zealand`s top birding locations, the ideal introduction to your New Zealand bird-watching holiday. The lodge is set into a large block of regenerating kauri forest…
Te Mata Lodge - Thames
Located in the beautiful Te Mata region just 20 minutes north of Thames, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand … Te Mata Lodge is the perfect base for exploring all that the Coromandel Peninsula has to offer…
Vista del Sol
Vista del Sol is a 15 acre property set on thirty thousand year old sand dunes enjoying 360 degree views of an unspoiled panorama 1 km from the beach. The property faces west to the Coast over wetland bush valleys, ancient sand dunes and magnificent sunsets, South-West to Kapiti Island, North over rolling farmland and North-East to the Tararua Mountain Ranges…
Wilderness Lodge - Lake Moeraki & Arthur`s Pass
Set in the tranquil South Pacific, away from the world`s trouble spots, are New Zealand`s only two Wilderness Lodges. They are located in the most wild and natural parts of the South Island; at Lake Moeraki in the rainforest and the Tasman sea coast, and at Arthur`s Pass in the heart of the Southern Alps.
New Zealand Rare Birds Committee
The Society's Rare Birds Committee has been in existence for about 25 years – the first published report was for 1974-75. The Committee then consisted of four members. In that year it received only six submissions for consideration. Published annual reports of the Committee for the next few years show that only a few sightings were considered by the Committee in each of those years…
Global Restoration Network
Large and increasing efforts are being made to rectify the enormous negative landscape transformations that have occurred in both Australia and New Zealand (Australasia) over the last 200 years. The projects listed on the following pages have been selected in a recent search for the most outstanding restoration projects in Australia and New Zealand…
Kakapo Recovery Project
Imagine you wake up one day and are told to look after the last 62 kakapo in the world! What would you do? Well, that is the challenge facing the Kakapo Recovery Programme every day. It sounds daunting, but it is all about doing some fairly simple things over and over again, and doing them well. We manage the birds in the wild to ensure they are healthy and ready for breeding. We research new ideas that might help ensure a future for the kakapo. We develop new technology that helps us in our daily work…
Kiwi Conservation Club
The Kiwi Conservation Club is a Forest and Bird project for children.
Kiwis for kiwi
Kiwis for kiwi is carrying on the years of dedicated work by BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust, to help protect kiwi and the places they live. Because we can’t imagine New Zealand without kiwi….
New Zealand Ecological Society
The New Zealand Ecological Society was formed in 1951 to promote the study of ecology and the application of ecological knowledge in all its aspects. Through its activities, the society attempts to encourage ecological research, increase awareness and understanding of ecological principles, promote sound ecological planning and management of the natural and human environment and promote high standards both within the profession of ecology by those practicing it, and by those bodies employing ecologists…
Ornithological Society of New Zealand
General information about who the Ornithological Society of New Zealand are and what they do. Founded in 1939 the OSNZ was incorporated in 1953 and now has about 1000 financial members world-wide. A feature of OSNZ is the diversity of its membership, which ranges from professional ornithologists and government institutions in New Zealand and overseas through secondary and tertiary students and experienced amateur observers to learners and beginners. No special qualifications are required for admission and membership is open to all who are interested in birds.
The primary objectives of the Society are to encourage the breeding of every parrot in New Zealand whether it be in the wild or captivity and to produce a high quality magazine devoted entirely to parrots. Pet owners are also catered for.
Pukaha-Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre
Pukaha Mount Bruce is New Zealand's National Wildlife Centre for conservation of some of our most endangered wildlife. We are also a centre for environmental education and an eco tourism destination. Kiwi, kokako, kaka and other wildlife are now being restored to the forest with the support of the local community…
Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project
The Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project aims to restore approximately 5000 hectares of beech forest on the shores of Lake Rotoiti, in Nelson Lakes National Park. This is being achieved through an extensive predator trapping programme and the area is managed as a "mainland island"…
Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society
P0 Box 631, Wellington. +64 4 3857374 firstname.lastname@example.org
NZ's equivalent of the RSPB etc. are an active, successful New Zealand based conservation organisation. Since 1923 we have worked for the protection of New Zealand's native forests, threatened species, marine heritage and for a healthier environment…
Tiritiri Matangi Supporters
Located 30km north east of central Auckland and just 4km from the end of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Tiritiri Matangi Island is one of New Zealand`s most important and exciting conservation projects. 120 years of farming saw this 230-hectare island stripped of 94% of its native bush but between 1984 and 1994, volunteers planted between 250,000 and 300,000 trees. The island is now 60% forested. The remaining 40% will be left as grassland for species such as the Takahe. In conjunction with this planting programme, all mammalian predators have been eradicated and a number of species of threatened and endangered birds have been successfully introduced. Nowhere else in New Zealand can you readily walk amongst so many species in such significant quantities. Tiritiri Matangi is one of only 2 Open Scientific Reserves in New Zealand, the other being the Albatross colony at Taiaroa Heads near Dunedin. Ferries depart from both Gulf Harbour and downtown Auckland allowing 150 visitors per day to visit the island. This is in addition to any private craft that may land. For ornithologically minded people, no visit to Auckland would be complete without a trip to Tiritiri Matangi. This gets such a large entry as it happens to be one of the Fat Birder`s most favourite places on earth!
Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre
For more than 12 years the award-winning Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre has cared for and treated thousands of injured birds…
Wingspan - Birds of Prey Trust
The Goal of Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust is to: Restore New Zealand birds of prey into our daily lives and secure their long-term future through practical research based conservation action and education….
Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust
The Yellow-eyed Penguin, or hoiho as it was known to Maori, is a rather remarkable bird. Please take some time to discover this wonderful but threatened Penguin.
Massey - NZ
The evolution, taxonomy, morphology and behaviour of birds. Recognition of New Zealand birds by sight and sound. Practical work includes dissection and analyses of plumage colouration and vocalisations.
Aroha Island Ecological Centre
A peaceful and tranquil place to visit and stay. A place aimed at encouraging awareness and wise use of the environment. A place where the Brown Kiwi live and where the emphasis is placed on its protection and preservation.
Farewell Spit is the longest natural sandbar in the world. Maori people named the spit Onetahua, meaning heaped up sand - the long sandbar stretches out 35km from the very tip of the South Island of New Zealand
Gannet Colony - Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay
The Cape Kidnapper Gannet Reserve is rare in ornithological circles as it contains the largest and most accessible mainland gannet colony in the world. By this very rarity, many visitors from both within New Zealand and from overseas, have been drawn to Hawke's Bay to visit the reserve and experience for themselves the gannets in their natural environment.
Gannet Colony - Muriwai
Muriwai is one of Auckland's so-called West Coast beaches, with good fishing, strong winds and rough waves. These conditions attract not only the gannets…
Imagine a secret valley only three kilometres from the City: 252 steep-sided hectares, clothed in a regenerating native hardwood forest. The forest teems with life: skinks, geckos and native frogs abound, but most noticeable of all is the bird life. Like the forests of old, this forest rings with the songs of species once lost to Wellington.
Kiwi & Birdlife Park - Queenstown
Set in 8 acres of beautifully landscaped native bush the Kiwi & Birdlife Park in the centre of Queenstown is a truly magical place to visit. Discover the nocturnal world of the Kiwi at home amongst the tree ferns. Follow the trail to aviaries nestling amongst the bush where birdsong mongles with the soft sound of the flowing streams…
Kuaotunu Kiwi Sanctuary & other Reserves
The long-term prospects for the Peninsula without predator control intervention are not good. Numbers would be expected to decline until inevitable extinction. On the other hand, survival prospects are much improved with the Society's implementation of its sanctuary plan.
The steep-sided and seemingly flat-topped Mana Island is a distinctive feature of Wellington's west coast. Recently cleared of mice it is predator free and has had wetland restored, native bush planted and the re-introduction of native invertebrates, reptiles and more recently, brown teal, takahe and shore plover…
Nga Manu Nature Reserve
Nga Manu Nature Reserve offers you a unique opportunity to have a hands on experience related to the natural history of New Zealand. We hope that by visiting the Reserve you will gain an understanding of the ecosystems by using examples of plants and animals that can be observed within the different habitats that make up the Reserves ecosystems…
Oamaru Blue Penguine Colony
The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is situated in the former Oamaru harbour quarry. Once worked to provide rock for the construction of the Oamaru harbour, the quarry was turned over to the penguins in 1992, however the penguins have been present in small numbers since the early 1980s… this site has a webvcam too…
Pukaha Mt. Bruce National Wildlife Centre
Conservation hope for New Zealand's threatened and unique forest parrot, the kaka, has soared following a breeding success at the Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre. The kaka reintroduction programme at Mount Bruce has exceeded conservation expectations with at least two kaka pairs nesting and raising chicks a year before expected said conservation officer Doug Mende.
Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre
The Miranda Shorebird Centre is located in New Zealand on the Firth of Thames, one hour south east of Auckland and half an hour west of the Coromandel Peninsula. The Miranda coast is a world-renowned destination for birdwatchers. Thousands of wading birds from the Arctic tundra, along with similar numbers of New Zealand breeding shorebirds gather at Miranda each year. The Miranda Shorebird Centre is both a lodge as well as an information/education centre. It features extensive displays and dioramas on the natural history of Miranda and its international significance.
Royal Albatross Centre - Taiaroa Head
The Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head, on the tip of the Peninsula, is the only mainland breeding colony of albatross in the world…
Tiritiri Matangi Island
Located 30km north east of central Auckland and just 4km from the end of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Tiritiri Matangi Island is one of New Zealand's most important and exciting conservation projects. 120 years of farming saw this 220-hectare island stripped of 94% of its native bush but between 1984 and 1994, volunteers planted between 250,000 and 300,000 trees. The island is now 60% forested. The remaining 40% will be left as grassland for species such as the Takahe.
Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Christchurch
View New Zealand Kiwi & other native birds & animals up close at our wildlife park near Christchurch Airport, open daily. Nocturnal kiwi bird viewing in an open and natural enclosure. Guided tours available. Willowbank is actively involved in the breeding and conservation of a variety of Kiwi and other endangered species…
Forums & Mailing Lists
To post to list: BIRDING-NZ@yahoogroups.com
List contact: email@example.com
To subscribe to list: BIRDING-NZfirstname.lastname@example.org
Discussion Group Sightings etc. of NZ birds.
Forum about New Zealand birds, for New Zealand birders. The discussion forum is free and easy to join, allowing anyone with an interest in NZ birds—resident scientists, international twitchers, and everyone in between—to find and share information. A key goal of the site is to allow people to quickly and easily distribute details about rare bird observations, so that others may also have a chance to see something special. To help achieve this goal, registered members can easily subscribe to receive an email alert of posts made to the Bird Sightings and Alerts forum…
B1RDER: The birding blog of Brent Stephenson
I'm based in New Zealand, but spend a lot of time travelling, birding, and taking photographs. I co-own and run Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ and also run Eco-Vista: Photography & Research…
Diary of a blackbird called crumb – an Auckland, NZ resident…
Forest & Bird Weblog
Whakatane Artist Mandy Hague shares experiences of NZ birds & wildlife through her Paintings and Photographs…
The Black Robin Project
Rangatira Island is a great place to research some of New Zealand’s native songbirds – black robins, Chatham Island warblers and Chatham Island tomtits. The black robins are the best studied of this group. Once upon a time they were the rarest birds in the world, with a small population restricted to Little Mangere Island, a tiny rock not far from here…
Hi! My name is Liam and I am a beginner birder living in Glen Massey. I first became interested in birds after a 6-month missions trip to Papua New Guinea in 2016, and my interest grew from there! I am now a member of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Young Birders New Zealand (OSNZ and YBNZ respectively ). So now, I'm starting this blog so I can share my birding adventures with anyone who will listen
Archipelago (Hiking Org. of NZ) Bird Page
Currently (June 2002) being re-jigged.
A new site which lists birders totals for NZ…
Birds of Christchurch and Canterbury
This site is dedicated to the wildlife of Christchurch and Canterbury. The intention of the site is to raise public awareness and enjoyment by sharing knowledge. updates of the latest sightings for birds and other wildlife…
Brown Teal Recovery Programme
Promoting the recovery of the endangered Brown Teal…
The ancient, flightless Kakapo is the world`s rarest and strangest parrot. It the only flightless and nocturnal parrot, as well as being the heaviest in the world, weighing up to 3.5 kilograms (8 lbs). The birds live in New Zealand, an island country which had virtually no mammals living on it for millions of years. It was a place inhabited by birds and reptiles. The only types of mammal were two species of bats. The Kakapo did not learn the defense mechanisms to combat or escape mammalian predators. This made the parrot very vulnerable when new animals started showing up.
Kids for Birds
This website is for all children. On it you can learn about new zealand birds, read stories about birds and print out pictures to colour. There are also pages for your art and stories…
A new search for a native bird that has been missing in action for more than 30 years is to get under way in October. If successful, the Kokako 2000 campaign will confirm the continued existence of the South Island kokako, a forest bird that has not been officially recorded since the 1960s. The search for the South Island kokako will be led by nationally-recognised wildlife ecologist Rhys Buckingham, and is being jointly funded by Nelson mail-order company, Maruia Nature Catalogue, and environmental lobby group, Ecologic Foundation.
This is the place to find out all you could possibly want to know about New Zealand's giant extinct bird. Half of these pages are an introduction to the moa, and include pictures, a bibliography, and the famous top ten list. If you want more depth, visit the moa science section for the latest on publications and research.
Native Species Conservation
New Zealand's plants and animals have developed during 80 million years of isolation. These islands, fragments from the supercontinent of Gondwana, have witnessed the evolution of species so distinctive that scientists have described New Zealand as the closest one can get to studying life on another planet…
Nature and Co
Natureandco.com specializes in New Zealand`s nature. Our online directory supplies, among other things, information about the New Zealand native birds and there is plenty of information about where to see birds in New Zealand, including maps. Our New Zealand Nature Store presents a comprehensive collection of books about NZ birds (fieldguides and otherwise); as well as a variety of quality sound recordings, videos and posters/ wallcharts.
New Zealand Birding Directory
New Zealand was a land of birds. A remote Island, which became an experiment in bird evolution. Birds evolved to fill niches that on other lands were filled by mammals. Moa were the equivalent of giraffes and millions of takahe grazed like sheep. Lack of mammalian competition and predation resulted in birds becoming large and flightless. Although New Zealand has changed significantly since humans arrived through loss of habitat and introduction of mammals, there are still many opportunities to experience New Zealand`s unique wildlife.
New Zealand Birds
This is a good place to start looking for links to other NZ sites with an eye to the birds. It also has rather nice gallery of NZ bird illustrations.
New Zealand Seabirds
New Zealand is the seabird centre of the world. Because of its extensive coastline and many inshore and offshore islands, as well as its well developed logistics, it is possible for the interested observer to see more seabirds here than in any other country. Three-quarters of the world`s albatrosses, penguins, petrels and half the shearwaters and shags are to be found here along with numerous representatives of a number of other groups and, in addition, a good proportion of these can be viewed without going far offshore…
NZ Birds Online
Colin Miskelly at Te Papa, being set up as authoritative source for NZ birds
Some bird song tapes etc.
Penguins in New Zealand
Blue penguins are found right around the coast of New Zealand and southern Australia, but none closer to human activity than in Oamaru, New Zealand. The birds nest right around the harbour area and the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony offers a unique opportunity for you to observe the world`s smallest penguin arriving home from their day at sea and returning to their nests.
Seabirds of New Zealand
Welcome to the Seafriends home page for saving New Zealand seas, learning about our oceans and seeing what can be found when diving. Enjoy the underwater photos of our shores. You can help us with our marine conservation and discovery projects.
Spatial patterns of New Zealand bird diversity
Measurements of land-bird diversity were calculated from distribution maps in The Atlas of Bird Distribution in New Zealand (P.C. Bull, P.D. Gaze, and C.J.R. Robertson, 1985. Wellington: Ornithological Society of New Zealand); the most geographically comprehensive survey of New Zealand birds. The presence/absence grid maps (1,614 10,000 yard grid squares for North Island and 2,061 for South Island) for almost 150 bird taxa are based on field observations by 800 naturalists from 1969-79. Details of the original mapping scheme are described in the atlas.
Photographers & Artists
Gallery - Birds of New Zealand
Images of NZ birds…
Gallery - Birds of New Zealand
Show casing some of the birds in New Zealand. Locations have been: 1. Mt Bruce reserve, about 30km north of Masterton has bush walks, nature reserve, and is dedicated to the preservation of some of New Zealand’s endangered species…
Gallery - New Zealand Birds
Images & Sounds of NZ birds…
Gallery - New Zealand Birds' Store & Gift Shop
Everything birdy in the arts & crafts line…
Photograph - Graeme Robertson
…a gallery which contains images from New Zealand of albatross and other seabirds…
Photographer - Brent Stephenson
As well as having an intense enthusiasm for birding and birds, I have had a love for photography since taking my first bird pics at about the age of 8 with my Mum`s old point and shoot 35mm Kodak…
Photographer - Glen Webber - New Zealand Birding & Nature Photography
New Zealand Natural history photography gallery focusing on birding…
Photographer - Jason Elsworth
I am a freelance photographer living in New Zealand and specialising in photographing and writing about New Zealand natural history, landscape and outdoor pursuits. Currently I am focusing my efforts almost exclusively on photographing New Zealand birds. My aim is to create images which go far beyond being merely record shots, and show the viewer just how beautiful New Zealand birds are…
Photographer - Mike Dazenbaker
Nice pictures of some of NZ`s excellent birds from this US photographer…
Photographer - Neil Fitzgerald
My photographs have been used in books, presentations, websites and magazines including New Zealand Geographic. I hope the images I capture are able to convey some of the beauty in nature, in even the least likely of subjects, and ultimately instill in the viewer a greater appreciation of the need to conserve what we can of our environment…