New Zealand Birds

Many species of native New Zealand birds are not found in any other countries in the world.

Although there are no native mammals apart from bats and marine mammals such as dolphins and seals, this country does have an abundance of unique native sea and forest bird life that exist nowhere else on earth.

Before humans inhabited these islands, NZ did not have any predatory mammals. Up until the arrival of predators the native bird life was free to exist on the ground with many species being completely flightless, and some losing use of wings through evolution.

Thinking about it, if there were no predators to worry about why bother to carry on flying!

Kiwi Bird and Egg Picture

Kiwi Bird in a Nest

Cormorant New Zealand Bird

Weka Bird in New Zealand

Oystercatcher, Birds on Hokitika Beach New Zealand

Cormorant - New Zealand Bird

Variable Oystercatcher, Hokitika Beach, South Island, New Zealand Birds

Red Crowned Kakariki Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park

Albatross New Zealand

Sea birds at Pancake Rocks New Zealand South Island

Duck at Mirror Lakes South Island New Zealand

Unique New Zealand birds include the Kiwi with nostrils at the end of their beaks, the world's only flightless parrot called the Kakapo, and the only truly alpine parrot the Kea.

NZ is re known to be the seabird capital of the world and is fortunate in that it is the home to many unique species of forest birds.

This is definitely a bird watching paradise... if you can find them.

There is a diverse population of invertebrates that play a vital role in maintaining the ecosystem processes that enable many of the native bird populations to survive. It's very unfortunate that along with many of the native New Zealand birds species being under threat, many of the invertebrates also face extinction for similar reasons.

I'm providing a list of examples of New Zealand birds below but it is not exhaustive. It will give you an idea of the variety of bird life you can expect to see in NZ.

Some, such as the Kiwi, are only really able to be seen in protected and controlled environments and sanctuaries. There are few sanctuaries that have successful breeding programme's for the Kiwi and it is great news every time another one is hatched out!

I believe that the Kekapo is far too endangered to be on view anywhere at this point in time but hopefully the protection and breeding programme may change that. With the help of the Department of Conservation hopefully the survival of this bird will continue.

Due to the predatory animals that have been introduced to the islands since humans arrived, such as rats, dogs, and cats, the survival rate of these flightless species is totally dependant on protection and bird rescue.

However, there are now several breeding programs and projects that have offered successful reintroduction to the wild of a variety of native New Zealand birds. Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, Rainbow Springs in Rotorua and Otorohanga Kiwi House are examples of ones that I visited on my travels.


Bellbird (Korimako)

Black Robin

Black Stilt (Kaki)

Black Swan

Blue Duck (Whio)

Dinornis (Moa)

Duck (Blue Duck) (Whio)

Fantail - New Zealand Fantail

Kākā - large parrot belonging to the nestorinae meridionalis, including the kea and the extinct Norfolk Island kākā


Kererū, Kūkū or kūkupa (NZ Native Pigeon)


Kokako - The South Island species of these New Zealand birds is believed to have been extinct for more that 25 years

Kune Kune

Moa (Dinornis)

New Zealand Bush Falcon

New Zealand Dotterel

New Zealand Fantail Piwakawaka

New Zealand Native Pigeon (Kererū, Kūkū or Kukupa)

Oystercatcher (Variable Oystercatcher)

Penguin (Hoiho the Yellow-eyed Penguin) - its only the conservation efforts that have saved this Yellow Eyed Penguin

Pied Stilt


Red Crowned Kakariki

Spur Winged Plover

Swan (Black Swan)

Takahe - Thought to be extinct until Dr. Geoff Orbell re discovered this flightless bird with a red beak and multi coloured plumage in 1948.

Torea (Variable Oystercatcher)

Variable Oystercatcher


Whio (Blue Duck)

Yellow-eyed Penguin (Hoiho) - This Yellow-eyed Penguin is actually the rarest out of all the penguins, right across the world, with not many more than 4,000 left, the majority of these penguins are located on New Zealand islands with more than six hundred pairs living on the soth-eastern coast of NZ.

For information on other animals that inhabit these islands please visit my dedicated page on New Zealand Animals.

Wildlife Parks

Extinct Moa
Moa Auckland Museum New Zealand

The variety of New Zealand birds this country has to offer makes it undoubtedly a brilliant place for bird watching and there are many wildlife conservation parks you can visit.

One of these in the North Island is Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park for NZ birds & reptiles. If you are going anywhere near the Waitomo Caves, this park is only a short drive from there.

A little bit further north is another fantastic area of bush with a predator proof fence that you can visit. See my page dedicated to the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust reserve for more information.

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park is a favourite place of mine and the unique experience of visiting this park, particularly if you visit at night and join in with a delicious meal as well as seeing the clear spring water of Rainbow Springs… and the Maori Cultural Experience offered by the Mitai family! This was one the most memorable parts of our visit to Rotorua and I would recommend the whole package if you will be in Rotorua for the night.

And at the southern end of the North Island, Staglands Wildlife Reserve, located in the stunning location of Akatarawa Valley in Upper Hutt, North Island (Wellington) is involved native bird conservation. Including the, New Zealand Bush Falcon, Blue Duck, Kaka, Kea parrot, and Kune Kune.

The Lochmara Lodge Marlborough Sounds Wildlife Recovery Centre are dedicated and passionate about ensuring the unique flora and fauna of these islands exists for future generations to enjoy. The centre includes and abundance of native bird life, educational signs for information about plants, animals, and conservation projects.

Kiwi Birdlife Park is a family-owned wildlife sanctuary based in Queenstown with a passion for conservation. This five acre park has over twenty species of native birds and reptiles that include the Tuatara and Kiwi.

Nature Sounds and Bird Song

Turn your sound up to listen to the above brilliant recording!