New Zealand

Tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae ©Allan Sander Website
Birding New Zealand

New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island and the South Island and around 600 smaller islands of which the five largest inhabited islands are Stewart Island, Chatham Island, Great Barrier Island, d’Urville Island and Waiheke Island. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country’s varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand’s capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.New Zealand is long and narrow, over 1,600 kilometres along its north-north-east axis with a maximum width of 400 kilometres with about 15,000 km of coastline and a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres. Because of its far-flung outlying islands and long coastline, the country has extensive marine resources. Its exclusive economic zone is one of the largest in the world, covering more than 15 times its land area.New Zealand’s climate is predominantly temperate maritime with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C in the south to 16 °C in the north. Historical maxima and minima are 42.4 °C in Rangiora, Canterbury and -25.6 °C in Ranfurly, Otago. Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to almost semi-arid in Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland. The southern and south-western parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400–1,600 hours; the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive about 2,400–2,500 hours. The general snow season is early June until early October, though cold snaps can occur outside this season. Snowfall is common in the eastern and southern parts of the South Island and mountain areas across the country.About 82% of New Zealand’s indigenous vascular plants are endemic, covering 1,944 species. The two main types of forest are those dominated by broadleaf trees with emergent podocarps, or by southern beech in cooler climates. The remaining vegetation types consist of grasslands, the majority of which are tussock. Marine mammals are abundant, with almost half the world’s cetaceans and large numbers of fur seals reported in New Zealand waters. Many seabirds breed in New Zealand, a third of them unique to the country. More penguin species are found in New Zealand than in any other country.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.

This page is sponsored by Wrybill Birding Tours

Top Sites
  • North Island - Firth of Thames [Miranda]

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    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

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    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!
  • North Island - Zealandia

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    ZEALANDIA is the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, with an extraordinary 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. The 225 hectare (500+ acre) ecosanctuary is a groundbreaking conservation project that has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.
  • South Island - Eglington Valley and Milford Sound

    Satellite View
    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

    Satellite View
    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

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    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

    Satellite View
    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.
  • Stewart Island

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    A gem at the southern tip of New Zealand with abundant birdlife including Blue, Yellow-eyed and Fjordland Crested Penguins, Seabirds galore, Weka, Kaka and the most reliable sites to witness the national icon, Brown Kiwi.
  • Narena Olliver


  • Duncan Poyser


Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 401

    (As at April 2020)

    National Bird - Kiwi Apteryx mantelli

  • Number of endemics: 96

    77 True Endemics:
    Southern Brown Kiwi Apteryx australis Northern Brown Kiwi Apteryx mantelli Great Spotted Kiwi Apteryx haastii Little Spotted Kiwi Apteryx owenii Okarito Brown Kiwi Apteryx rowi Brown Teal Anas chlorotis Campbell Island Teal Anas nesiotis Auckland Island Teal Anas aucklandica New Zealand Scaup Aythya novaeseelandiae Blue Duck Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos Paradise Shelduck Tadorna variegata Fiordland Penguin Eudyptes pachyrhynchus Snares Crested Penguin Eudyptes robustus Erect-crested Penguin Eudyptes sclateri Yellow-eyed Penguin Megadyptes antipodes New Zealand Storm Petrel Fregetta maoriana New Zealand Grebe Poliocephalus rufopectus New Zealand King Shag Phalacrocorax carunculatus Otago Shag Phalacrocorax chalconotus Foveaux Shag Phalacrocorax stewarti Auckland Shag Phalacrocorax colensoi Bounty Shag Phalacrocorax ranfurlyi Campbell Shag Phalacrocorax campbelli Pitt Shag Phalacrocorax featherstoni Chatham Shag Phalacrocorax onslowi Spotted Shag Phalacrocorax punctatus Weka Gallirallus australis Auckland Rail Lewinia muelleri Southern Takahe Porphyrio hochstetteri South Island Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus finschi Variable Oystercatcher Haematopus unicolor Chatham Oystercatcher Haematopus chathamensis Black Stilt Himantopus novaezelandiae Wrybill Anarhynchus frontalis Double-banded Plover Charadrius bicinctus Red-breasted Plover Charadrius obscurus Shore Dotterel Thinornis novaeseelandiae Subantarctic Snipe Coenocorypha aucklandica Chatham Snipe Coenocorypha pusilla Snares Snipe Coenocorypha huegeli Red-billed Gull Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus Black-billed Gull Larus bulleri Black-fronted Tern Sterna albistriata New Zealand Pigeon Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae Chatham Pigeon Hemiphaga chathamensis New Zealand Falcon Falco novaeseelandiae Yellow-fronted Parakeet Cyanoramphus auriceps Chatham Parakeet Cyanoramphus forbesi Malherbe's Parakeet Cyanoramphus malherbi Red-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae Antipodes Parakeet Cyanoramphus unicolor Reischek’s Parakeet Cyanoramphus hochstetteri Kaka Nestor meridionalis Kea Nestor notabilis Kakapo Strigops habroptila Long-tailed Koel Urodynamis taitensis Rifleman Acanthisitta chloris New Zealand Rock Wren Xenicus gilviventris New Zealand Bellbird Anthornis melanura Tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae Grey Gerygone Gerygone igata Chatham Island Gerygone Gerygone albofrontata North Island Kokako Callaeas wilsoni South Island Kokako Callaeas cinereus North Island Saddleback Philesturnus rufusater South Island Saddleback Philesturnus carunculatus Stitchbird Notiomystis cincta Pipipi (Brown Creeper) Mohua novaeseelandiae Whitehead Mohoua albicilla Yellowhead Mohoua ochrocephala New Zealand Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa North Island Robin Petroica longipes South Island Robin Petroica australis New Zealand Tomtit Petroica macrocephala Black Robin Petroica traversi New Zealand Fernbird Megalurus punctatus New Zealand Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae

    19 Birds which only breed in New Zealand:
    Southern Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanopohris Buller's Albatross Thalassarche bulleri Campbell Albatross Thalassarche impavida Chatham Albatross Thalassarche eremita Salvin's Albatross Thalassarche salvini 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 Whenua Hou Diving Petrel Pelecanoides whenuahouensis


  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • A Checklist to New Zealand Birds

    | (Frogs, Reptiles, Mammals and Butterflies) | By Kerry-Jane Wilson | Canterbury University Press | 2007 | Paperback | 64 pages, no illustrations | ISBN: 9781877257513 Buy this book from
  • A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

    | By Julian Fitter & Don Merton | Harper Collins | 2014 | Paperback | 320 pages, 600+ colour photos | ISBN: 9780007354757 Buy this book from
  • Atlas of Bird Distribution in New Zealand 1999-2004

    | By CJR Robertson, P Hyvonen, MJ Fraser & CR Pickard | Ornithological Society of New Zealand | 2007 | Hardback | 533 pages, 2100 maps, figs | ISBN: 9780958248655 Buy this book from
  • Birds of New Zealand Checklist

    | By Brian O'Flaherty | New Holland Publishers New Zealand | 2005 | Paperback | ISBN: 9781869661199 Buy this book from
  • Birds of New Zealand: A Photographic Guide

    | By Paul Scofield & Brent Stephenson | Yale University Press | 2013 | Paperback | 544 pages, 1005 colour photos, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780300196825 Buy this book from
  • Birds of New Zealand: Locality Guide

    | By Stuart Chambers | Arun Books | 2014 | Paperback | 408 pages, col photos, illustrations | ISBN: 9781505368871 Buy this book from
  • Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand

    | (Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica) | Ornithological Society of New Zealand Checklist Committee | 2010 | Paperback | 500 pages, 4 maps | ISBN: 9781877385599 Buy this book from
  • Collins Field Guide: Birds of New Zealand, Hawaii, Central and West Pacific

    | By Ber Van Perlo | Harper Collins | 2011 | Hardcover | 256 pages | 95 colour plates | ISBN: 9780007287383 Buy this book from
  • Field Guide to New Zealand Seabirds

    | By Brian Parkinson |New Holland Publishers | 2007 | Paperback | 136 page, 166 Colour Photos, 108 Maps | ISBN: 9781869661502 Buy this book from
  • Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

    | By Barrie Heather, Hugh Robertson & Derek Onley | Penguin Books New Zealand | 2015 | Paperback | 464 pages, 85 plates with colour illustrations; b/w illustrations, colour | ISBN: 9780143570929 Buy this book from
  • Flight of the Huia

    | Ecology and Conservation of New Zealand's Frogs, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals Kerry-Jayne Wilson411 pages, col photos, illus.Canterbury University Press ISBN: 9780908812523 Buy this book from
  • Photographic Guide to Birds of New Zealand

    | By Geoff Moon | New Holland Publishers | 2012 | Paperback | 141 pages, colour photos | ISBN: 9781869663278 Buy this book from
  • The 50 Best Birdwatching Sites In New Zealand

    | By Liz Light, illustrated by Oscar Thomas | John Beaufoy Books | 2019 | Paperback | 208 Pages | 200 colour photos | 5 Colour Maps | ISBN: 9781912081493 Buy this book from
  • The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds

    | By Geoff Moon | Reed Publishing | 1996 | Reed Publishing | Hardback | 256 pages, Col photos throughout | ISBN: 9780790005041 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • New Zealand Birds Online

    The digital encyclopaedia of New Zealand birds
Museums & Universities
  • 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.
  • New Zealand Rare Birds Committee

    The Society's Rare Birds Committee has been in existence for about 25 years
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

Abbreviations Key

  • Aroha Island Ecological Centre

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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.
  • CvP Pureora Forest Park

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    The park preserves the last remnants of extensive native podocarp forests that once covered most of the central North Island. When deep under the canopy of these ancient trees, it’s easy to imagine primeval New Zealand as it existed thousands of years ago... ...a key place for Kokako, and there is a bird viewing tower near the cabins where Parakeet and Kaka are often seen.
  • Forest & Bird Reserves

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    Forest & Bird owns nearly 40 nature reserves totalling more than a thousand hectares around New Zealand. Most of these reserves are bequeathed to us and are actively managed by members, who undertake restoration work such as planting, weed-busting, pest control and reintroduction of native species.
  • IR Blumine Island

    WebpageSatellite View
    Blumine Island Oruawairua (Māori) Geography Location Marlborough Sounds South Island Coordinates 41.1748°S 174.2395°E Area 4 km2 (1.5 sq mi) Highest elevation 298 m (978 ft) Administration New Zealand Demographics Population 0 Blumine Island, or Oruawairua in the Māori language, is in the Marlborough Sounds in the South Island of New Zealand. Contents 1 Description 2 Kiwi 3 See also 4 References Description Blumine Island covers 337 hectares (830 acres) and is mostly hill country. The island is located about 22 kilometres (14 mi) north of Picton. It is the site of a scenic reserve meaning anyone can visit the island. A visit by Captain James Cook left the island infested with introduced pests, which have since been eradicated through the use of helicopter poison drops, conducted by the Department of Conservation. In May 2008 the island was declared predator free and efforts began to reintroduce native species back to the island. It now has translocated Yellowhead, Orange-fronted Parakeet, King Shag and Rowi (Okarito Brown) Kiwi.
  • IR Tiritiri Matangi Island

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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.
  • Kiwi & Birdlife Park - Queenstown

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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…
  • MIR Boundary Stream

    WebpageSatellite View
    Discover the tallest waterfall in Hawke's Bay, or native forest and birds in an area protected from pests and predators as a 'mainland island'. Explore a limestone landscape or a picturesque lake. The North Island kōkako reintroduction program began in 2001 with the transfer of 10 wild birds from Te Urewera. Since then numbers have steadily increased. There were 27 birds (12 pairs and 3 single birds) in 2010.
  • NP Te Urewera

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    Te Urewera is the largest of four national parks in the North Island. Covering an area of approximately 2,127 km², it was in the north of the Hawke's Bay region of the North Island.
  • NR Atawhai-Whenua Reserve, Waiheke Island

    WebpageSatellite View
    Atawhai Reserve is fortunate in that Waiheke Island is free from possums, weasels and wild ferrets. The overall vision has been to restore the whole ecotone sequence from ridge top through freshwater wetland to the sea. Replanting - with broadleaved and podocarp species common to Waiheke - is now mostly completed.
  • NR Cape Kidnappers Gannet Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    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.
  • NR Farewell Spit

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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
  • NR Kapiti Island

    InformationSatellite View
    The island is home to a number of native birds, mostly re-introduced. These include takahe, North Island kōkako, brown teal, stitchbird (hihi), North Island saddleback (tieke), tomtit (miromiro), fantail (piwakawaka), morepork (ruru), weka and North Island robin (toutouwai). The brown kiwi and little spotted kiwi were released on the island between 1890 and 1910, and the island is now the stronghold for the latter species. Rat eradication has led to increases in red-fronted parakeets, North Island robin, bellbirds, and saddlebacks, and the island is considered one of New Zealand's most important sites for bird recovery, as well as a major breeding site for sea birds. In April 2005, the critically endangered short-tailed bat was introduced to the island from a threatened population in the Tararuas, providing them with a separate, safer habitat.
  • NR Mana Island

    InformationSatellite View
    The New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) now administers the island and has started to restore the forests, with over 500,000 trees being planted so far by volunteers. In 1989/90 mice were eradicated from the island. Subsequently, a wetland on the island was restored and several threatened bird, lizard and plant species translocated to Mana.
  • NR Maungatautari Restoration Project

    InformationSatellite View
    Because poisons and trapping, traditional methods of pest control, have limited success and seldom last long, the creators of the plan decided to enclose the 34 square kilometres of bush with a 47 km pest-exclusion fence to create an ecological island. When the environment is rendered suitable, the area will be repopulated with the entire suite of charismatic species that may now be locally extinct, such as North Island brown kiwi, North Island kōkako, kakariki, tuatara and many others. Kaka already visit regularly and are likely to become resident if suitable methods are employed.
  • NR Motunau Island

    InformationSatellite View
    Motunau Island is a small, three hectare island nature reserve lying 1.2 km off the coast of New Zealand's South Island, at the northern end of Pegasus Bay, south of the mouth of the Motunau River. The reserve is managed by the Department of Conservation and access is by permit only. The island is an important site for seabirds. In 1967, it was the breeding site of an estimated 23,000 individual birds. It is home to a colony of 5,000 white-flippered penguins. Other birds recorded as breeding there include white-faced storm petrels, sooty shearwaters, fairy prions, variable oystercatchers and white-fronted terns.
  • NR Nga Manu

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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…
  • NR Nugget Point

    InformationSatellite View
    Nugget Point is one of the most iconic landforms on the Otago coast. Located at the northern end of the Catlins coast, along the road from Kaka Point, this steep headland has a lighthouse at its tip, surrounded by rocky islets (The Nuggets). The point is home to many seabirds, including penguins, gannets and royal spoonbills, and a large breeding colony of fur seals. Roaring Bay, on the south coast of the tip of Nugget Point, is home to a small colony of yellow-eyed penguins.
  • NR Oamaru Blue Penguine Colony

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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…
  • NR Pekapeka Wetland

    InformationSatellite View
    Pekapeka Wetland is a wetland reserve located 12 kilometres by road south of Hastings in the Poukawa Basin of Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.
  • NR Pigeon Island - Wāwāhi Waka

    InformationSatellite View
    Pigeon Island (Wāwāhi Waka) is located in at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand near the township of Glenorchy. It is 170 hectares in size and is the largest island in the lake. Native New Zealand birds that can be found on Pigeon Island are: tui, wood pigeon, bellbird, brown creeper and yellow-crowned parakeet. Buff weka were translocated from Stevensons Island in 2006 and are now commonly seen.
  • NR Pukaha Mt. Bruce National Wildlife Centre

    InformationSatellite View
    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. See the Website
  • NR Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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.
  • NR Tuku

    InformationSatellite View
    The Tuku Nature Reserve lies in the Tuku-a-tamatea (Tuku) River Valley in the south-west of the island of Rekohu, the main island in New Zealand’s Chatham Islands group in the south-west Pacific Ocean. It is important for the conservation of the critically endangered Magenta Petrel Pterodroma magentae. The reserve is based on 1238 ha of land still largely covered with dense native forest.
  • New Zealand's National Parks

    InformationSatellite View
  • RP Muriwai Gannet Colony

    WebpageSatellite View
    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…
  • RP Shakespear

    InformationSatellite View
    Shakespear Regional Park is a nature park in the Auckland Region of New Zealand. It is located at the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Together with New Zealand Defence Force land to the north, most of the Park lies within the Shakespear Open Sanctuary. A 1.7-kilometre pest/predator-proof fence (completed March 2011) across the peninsula between protects the park's wildlife. This includes resident invertebrates and lizards, along with birds migrating from the nearby Tiritiri Matangi island sanctuary. Brodifacoum poison airdrops were conducted in July 2011 to eradicate mammalian pests.
  • RP Tawharanui

    InformationSatellite View
    Tawharanui Regional Park covers 588 hectares of the peninsula's land and Tawharanui Marine Reserve covers the northern coastal sea. Both are administered by Auckland Council [1] which also owns the regional park. The park combines a "mainland island" sanctuary for the conservation of native plants and animals with farmland and public recreation areas.
  • WR Orokonui Ecosanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    The Ecosanctuary is in a north-facing valley comprising about 250 hectare (ha) of regenerating native forest. In December 2006 work started on building a 9 km long specialised pest-exclusion fence, to enclose 307 ha of regenerating forest. Pest eradication commenced in August 2007 with shooting of goats and 800 possums by ground-based teams. This was immediately followed by the scattering from aircraft of bait poisoned with brodifacoum into the fenced area. The trust's consent application[1] states that when the valley is free of pests, the health of the forest will improve, leading to an increase in seedlings, flowers, seeds, invertebrates and thus increased food supply to birds.
  • WR Pauatahanui

    InformationSatellite View
    Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve is a wetland reserve located in Pauatahanui and on the eastern edge of the Pauatahanui Inlet of the Porirua Harbour in Porirua, New Zealand. Birds include bar-tailed godwit, royal spoonbill, caspian tern, paradise duck, pied stilt, sacred kingfisher, white-faced heron, New Zealand shoveler, pukeko and black shag.
  • WR Pauatahanui

    InformationSatellite View
    The reserve contains the most significant area of saltmarsh in the lower North Island of New Zealand. A good place to see Fernbird.
  • WR Royal Albatross Centre, Taiaroa Head

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head, on the tip of the Peninsula, is the only mainland breeding colony of albatross in the world…
  • WR Willowbank, Christchurch

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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…
  • WS Brook Waimarama Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary is a 715 hectare mainland “ecological island” sanctuary located in Nelson, New Zealand. The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust was established in 2004 with the intent of restoring the local populations of pre-European flora and fauna which have been ravaged by introduced mammalian predators. Invasion by introduced weeds also poses a threat.
  • WS Bushy Park

    InformationSatellite View
    Bushy Park is a forest located on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand, at 791 Rangitatau East Road, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Kai Iwi, Whanganui, Manawatu-Wanganui Region. It features an Edwardian-era homestead, Bushy Park Homestead, which is a Category I heritage building registered with Heritage New Zealand, a predator-free native bird sanctuary, and a virgin rainforest.[1] It measures approximately 100 hectares (250 acres), and is characterized as a "lowland remnant of rata-podocarp taka-puketea [sic] rainforest". According to Forest & Bird, Bushy Park is considered to be amongst the 25 best restoration ecology projects in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Zealandia

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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.
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • Birding NZ

    Mailing List
    Discussion Group Sightings etc. of NZ birds.
  • BirdingNZ

    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…
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Akaroa Harbour Cruises

    Boat Trips
    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

    Imagine cruising through crystal clear waters, taking in the spectacular views of Rakiura National Park. Walk through native bush and listen to the song of native birds all around...
  • Birding Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    New Zealand is a truly photogenic country that looks more striking than any movie could convey, and within its walls of beaches and mountains, fiords and volcanoes, there is really too much to see and do. You could be surfing, bungee jumping, snowboarding, kayaking, or just hanging out on a beach with a beer; add to that rich Maori cultural experiences, outdoor music festivals, energetic cities, and amazing wildlife, and you’re looking at some seriously good times.
  • Elm Wildlife Tours

    Tour Operator
    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

    Tour Operator
    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.
  • Foris Eco-tours

    Tour Operator
    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

    Boat Trips
    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
  • Gannet Safaris

    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

    Tour Operator
    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

    Tour Operator
    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.
  • Monarch Wildlife Cruises

    Boat Trips
    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

    Facebook Page
    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

    Tour Operator
    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

    Tour Operator
    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

    Tour Operator
    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.
  • Ruggedy Range

    Tour Operator
    Ruggedy Range
  • Tussock & Beech Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    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

    Tour Operator
    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…
  • White Heron Tours

    Tour Operator
    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

    Tour Operator
    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.
Trip Reports

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • 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 [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

    PDF Report
    New Zealand holds a number of rare and endangered bird species as well as many seabirds for which it is world famous. Our tour started out in the far north with a short visit to the Kerikeri area.
  • 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!
  • 2016 [09 September] - Nils Bouillard

    PDF Report
    Annotated trip list and sites etc.
  • 2016 [10 October] - Pete & Caroline Stevens

    PDF Report
    ...Our first trip out was to Long Bay Reserve (reserves in New Zealand can mean anything from a park to a nature reserve or some mixture of both). Long Bay Reserve backs up a beach with a small area of dunes, is park-like but then with a bridge over a tidal stream to restored forest. Here we were introduced to two of the species that were to be almost a daily feature of the trip: paradise shelduck and pukeko....
  • 2016 [11 November] - Dan Lane & Mark Ayer

    ...Those with tenacity then continued up to do a lovely pelagic in the Hauraki Gulf, complete with rain showers and chop (heh). And we did have some memorable experiences during this long journey: First and foremost was the very memorable skipping Okarito Kiwi. Then, there were the endearingly naïve Westland Petrels at the colony. The nesting South Island (Rock) Wrens comprised a third most popular memory, followed by the odd Wrybill, the friendly Robin, and the boldly-patterned Cape Petrels. Other things that we enjoyed were the pelagic, particularly the albatrosses (Wandering and Salvin’s were especially favorites) off Stewart Island, the different Stitchbird on Tiritiri Matangi Island, the loud and bold Wekas, as well as bold Kakas on Stewart Island, the dopey, yet comedic Yellow-eyed Penguins as they hopped down to the water, the awesome view of Ruapehu Volcano....
  • 2016 [11 November] - Erik Forsyth

    PDF Report
    ...We continued on the trail and soon founda group of New Zealand Bellbirds and two male Stitchbirds feeding at a supplementary feeder. Here weenjoyed fabulous looks at several male and one female Stitchbird; occasionally the males would erecttheir ornamental ear-tufts while displaying to a passing female....
  • 2016 [11 November] - Raphael Lebrun

    PDF Report
    Annotated bird list with sites
  • 2017 [01 January] - Forrest Rowland - Stewart Island, Subantarctic Islands Cruise and North Island

    PDF Report
    ...From displaying Southern Royal Albatross to kiwis tripping over our feet, our time in New Zealand was truly an adventure, as anyone who’s been in 25-foot seas can attest! The hordes ofprions, ‘Mollymawks’, and shearwaters were impressive enough, though wandering past loafing elephant seals, sea lion pups, and penguins of various species were all highlights of our time here....
  • 2017 [02 February] - Erik Forsyth

    Report PDF
    New Zealand is a must for the serious seabird enthusiast. Not only will you see a variety of albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters, there are also multiple chances of getting out on the high seas and finding something unusual. Seabirds dominate this tour, and views of most birds are alongside the boat.
  • 2017 [02 February] - Geoff Upton

    PDF Report
    ...Arriving at Potter’s Croft, our accommodation in Akaroa, I was pleased to hear more exotic-sounding bird sounds:bellbirds and tuis, both of which were coming to a feeder below our window. Also in the garden were mallard, purpleswamphens, California quails and a New Zealand fantail, while overhead I heard redpolls and silvereyes and in the nearbyforest New Zealand pigeons could be seen flying around and sometimes perched....
  • 2017 [11 November] - Erik Forsyth

    PDF Report
    On this tour we had so many highlights, including close encounters with North Island, Southern Brown and Little Spotted Kiwis, walk-away views of a pair of North Island Kokako, both North and South Island Saddlebacks and a pair of the impressive South Island Takahe.
  • 2017 [12 December] - Erik Forsyth

    PDF Report
    With many boat trips,the pelagic list was long,with Wandering,Northern and Southern Royal, Salvin’s,Black-browed, CampbellandWhite-capped Albatrosses,Westland,Cook’s and White-chinned Petrels, Buller’s, Flesh-footedand Hutton’s Shearwaters, and Common Diving Petrelbeing a few of the highlights.
  • 2018 [01 January] - Erik Forsyth

    PDF Report
    Seabirds dominate this tour,and views of most birds are right alongside the boat. There are also several land birds which are unique to these islands: the kiwis –terrestrial nocturnal inhabitants;the huge swamp-hen like Takahe –prehistoric in its looks and movements; and then the wattlebirds –the saddlebacks and Kokako, poor flyers with short wings, which bound along the branches and on the ground.
  • 2019 [01 January] - Karen Worcester

    PDF Report
    As always, the first morning of the first day is a rush of new species. In the mud flats we saw Paradise Shelducks, Pied Stilt, New Zealand Dotterel, White-faced Heron, South Island Oystercatcher, numerous Red-billed Gulls, the very occasional Black-billed Gull, and Red Knot (or Not Red, as some prefer to call them). There were huge flocks of Bar-tailed Godwit all facing into the wind, and Wrybill, with their bill bent to the right for probing beneath stones.
  • 2019 [11 November] - Andy Walker

    PDF Report
    A total of 122 bird species were seen (plus one species heard only), including many New Zealand endemics, as well as a wide range of seabirds and introduced and naturalized species.
  • 2019 [11 November] - Birding Ecotours - Andy Walker

    PDF Report
    This custom birdwatching tour in New Zealand commenced in Dunedin, South Island, on the 19th of October 2019. We birded around the city and the excellent Otago Peninsula (which included nesting albatross and penguin site visits) before commencing our journey south to the bird-rich Stewart and Ulva Islands where we took part in a pelagic trip and a kiwi safari. After our time on these smaller, wonderful islands we gradually worked our way north through South Island (taking in Milford Sound (spectacular), Omarama, Christchurch, and the world-famous Kaikoura for an incredible pelagic trip), before reaching the northern tip of the South Island and the town of Picton. After a boat ride across to Wellington in the south of North Island we flew to Auckland for a short circuit of that island where we took part in a Hauraki Gulf pelagic, visited the Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre as well as Hobbiton from the Lord of the Rings movies! The tour ended back in Auckland on the 4th of November 2019.
  • 2022 [10 October] - Andrew Walker

    PDF Report
    During the tour we recorded numerous New Zealand endemic birds (almost 50 species), highlights included Little Spotted Kiwi, North Island Brown Kiwi, Southern Brown Kiwi, Brown Teal, New Zealand Falcon, Wrybill, Black Stilt, Blue Duck, Malherbe’s Parakeet, New Zealand Kaka, Kea, North Island Saddleback, South Island Saddleback, Stitchbird, Tomtit, Yellowhead, Pipipi, North Island Robin, South Island Robin, New Zealand Rockwren, and Rifleman. Several breeding-endemics were also found, like the stunning Double-banded Plover.
  • 2022 [10 October] - Carlos Sanchez

    Annotated Species List
    New Zealand is a splendid country featuring excellent stunning landscapes, friendly people, and unique birds. In fact, over a third of the birds that we saw on this tour are endemic to New Zealand (we recorded 43 endemic species and all 6 of New Zealand’s endemic bird families). Although one does not usually think of mammals as part of New Zealand’s native fauna, we had nice views of the Endangered and endemic Hector’s Dolphin on the Kaikoura pelagic. Our group really loved the pelagic outings on this tour, and the Kaikoura pelagic came out on top as the group favorite activity. Both the Southern and Northern Brown Kiwi were the group favorites, and it is easy to see why – these fantastical creatures look like nothing else!
  • 2022 [12 December] - Bill Simpson

    PDF Report
    The main aim was to finally do the Birding Down Under trip after waiting 2 years due to Covid and also to slip in my remaining New Zealand targets while there. I booked a Pelagic from Marsden Cove with Sav Saville from Wrybill Tours for Pycroft’s Petrel, and planned for Otago Shag, Southern Brown Kiwi and Southern New Zealand Dotterel prior to the BDU. The Dotterel is still only an IOC ssp but has a good possibility of being elevated in the future.
  • 2023 [03 March] - Julien Wright-Ueada

    PDF Report
    Below, I describe our early 2023 trip throughout the fantastic island nation of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Currently, both my partner Liza and I are recent college graduates and rangers in Yosemite National Park. I am an avian biological technician while Liza is an interpretive ranger.
Places to Stay

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • 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…
  • 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
  • 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.
Other Links
  • Birders Totals

    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
  • 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
  • NZ Birding

    Details of the top birding sites in New Zealand and those I have personally visited overseas.
  • NZ Song

    Some bird song tapes etc.
  • 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 Birds' Store & Gift Shop

    Everything birdy in the arts & crafts line…
  • 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.
  • Amber Calman - Young Birderdom 

    Boring Ventures of a Babbling Birder - Young kiwi blogger
  • Brent Stephenson - B1RDER

    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…
  • Mandy Hague - Atist by Nature

    Last updated 2014 Whakatane Artist Mandy Hague shares experiences of NZ birds & wildlife through her Paintings and Photographs…
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
  • 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 - 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…
  • Photographer - Paul Gibson

    Author of Birds New Zealnd (beauty like no other) - Unique Pictorials is the publishing name used by Paul Gibson to print and market his books and calendars. Although based in Wanganui, photographs are used from throughout New Zealand, including the subantarctic. All books are of the highest quality and uniquely different from anything else on the market.

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