Fantail/pīwakawakaPHOTO: Shellie Evans ©
View birds by category: land birds, sea and shore birds, wetland birds
Some popular species: kākāpō, kea, kiwi, morepork, pūkeko, tūī
Albatrosses are the world's largest seabirds. They normally breed on remote islands and spend at least 85% of their lives at sea, well away from land and human view.
The endangered Australasian bittern/matuku inhabits wetlands throughout New Zealand. DOC is focusing on developing methods for surveying bittern systematically and methods for restoring wetlands .
The Australasian crested grebe is a diving water bird. Lake Pearson/Moana Rua in Canterbury has been designated a wildlife refuge to help protect the grebe.
The at risk, naturally uncommon banded rail/moho pererū is a native subspecies which inhabits wetlands throughout New Zealand.
The bellbird, unique to New Zealand, is easily recognised by its melodious song. Although bellbirds are still widespread, mammalian predators keep their numbers low. Bellbirds are among the species benefitting from DOC's pest control work.
New Zealand's only endemic gull is the most threatened gull species in the world, and it's rapidly declining.
The recovery of the Chatham Islands black robin from the brink of extinction is an internationally renowned conservation success story.
Kakī, or black stilt, is a native wading bird, found only in New Zealand. They have been intensively managed since 1981, when their population declined to a low of just 23 birds.
The whio/blue duck is only found in New Zealand. It is a nationally vulnerable species and faces a risk of becoming extinct.
The brown teal/pāteke is a small dabbling duck endemic to New Zealand.
This black and white wader is unique to the Chatham Islands. It is an endangered species with a high risk of extinction due to its very small population and range
The critically endangered Chatham Island pigeon or parea is restricted to the Chatham Islands. Although similar in appearance to the New Zealand pigeon, it is around 20% heavier, making it one of the world's heaviest pigeons.
Found on the Chatham Islands off mainland New Zealand, the tāiko is one of the world's rarest seabirds.They nest in long burrows under forest cover.
The Chatham Island tūī is a subspecies of the tūī found on mainland New Zealand. It is larger and has longer throat tufts than its mainland counterpart and the song is also significantly different.
Once widespread on the Chatham Islands, the Chatham petrel was until recently restricted to Rangatira Island but active management has allowed the population to grow on other islands.
The dabchick, or weweia is a specialised waterbird endemic to New Zealand. They are currently extinct from the South Island but they can be found around the Central North Island in Taupo and Rotorua.
Known for its friendly ‘cheet cheet’ call and energetic flying antics, the aptly named fantail is one of the most common and widely distributed native birds on the New Zealand mainland.
The at risk fernbird/mātātā is an endemic species which inhabits wetlands throughout New Zealand.
The grey warbler is a relatively inconspicuous grey bird that flits about the canopy of the forest but its call permeates the forest and takes the edge off a hard uphill slog for any attentive tramper.
The nationally endangered Hutton's shearwater is the only seabird globally to breed in a sub-alpine environment, with the only two breeding colonies remaining in the Seaward Kaikoura Range in the South Island.
The kākā is a large parrot belonging to the nestorinae family, a group that includes the kea and the extinct Norfolk Island kākā.
The kākāpō (night parrot) is one of New Zealand’s unique treasures with only 126 known surviving birds. It is listed internationally as a critically endangered species.
The New Zealand kea is an endemic parrot found in the South Island's alpine environments.
The kingfisher is a distinctive bird with a green-blue back, buff to yellow undersides and a large black bill. It has a broad black eye-stripe, and a white collar in adults. The females are slightly greener and duller.
The kiwi is a unique and curious bird: it cannot fly, has loose, hair-like feathers, strong legs and no tail. Learn more about the kiwi, the national icon of New Zealand and unofficial national emblem.
The kōkako belongs to the endemic New Zealand wattlebirds, an ancient family of birds which includes the North and South Island saddleback and the extinct huia.
The at risk Baillon's crake/marsh crake/koitareke is an endemic subspecies which inhabits wetlands throughout New Zealand.
The shell banks of Miranda, New Zealand, attract thousands of migratory birds each year and make for fantastic bird viewing.
The morepork is New Zealand’s only surviving native owl. It is known for its haunting, melancholic call.
The North Island robin, also known as toutouwai, is a friendly and trusting bird and is found in both native and exotic forests.
The endangered New Zealand dotterel/tūturiwhatu is found only in this country.
With a population of around 36 individuals that includes only ten breeding pairs, the New Zealand fairy tern/tara-iti is probably New Zealand's rarest breeding bird.
Capable of flying at speeds over 100 km/h and catching prey larger than itself, the NZ falcon/kārearea is one of New Zealand's most spectacular birds.
Kākāriki, meaning ‘small green parrot’ in Māori, are beautiful forest birds. They feed on berries, seeds, fruit and insects, and generally nest in holes in trees.
The kererū is a large bird with irridescent green and bronze feathers on its head and a smart white vest. The noisy beat of its wings is a distinctive sound in our forests.
The New Zealand robin or toutouwai is a sparrow-sized bird found only in New Zealand. They are friendly and trusting, often coming to within a couple of metres of people.
The paradise shelduck is New Zealand’s only shelduck, a worldwide group of large, often semi-terrestrial waterfowl that have goose-like features.
Penguins are a unique group of flightless seabirds that are at home on land and in the sea. New Zealand has more penguin species on our shores than any other country.
The pūkeko is probably one of the most recognised native birds in New Zealand with its distinctive colourings and habit of feeding on the ground.
A small reclusive bird, rock wrens are restricted to small pockets of the South Island’s high country. They are poor fliers, nest on the ground and are easy targets for introduced predators.
The saddleback or tīeke belongs to New Zealand's unique wattlebird family, an ancient group which includes the endangered kōkako and the extinct huia.
The silvereye – also known as the wax-eye, or sometimes white eye – is a small and friendly olive green forest bird with white rings around its eyes.
The at risk spotless crake/pūweto is a native subspecies which inhabits wetlands throughout New Zealand.
The spotted shag/parekareka is a medium-sized, grey-blue marine shag with a long, slender bill and yellow-orange feet. Adult breeding birds have small black spots on their back and wings.
Stitchbird/hihi is a medium-sized forest species that is one of New Zealand’s rarest birds.
Subantarctic teal include the Auckland Island teal and the distinctly different Campbell Island teal. The Campbell Island teal is one of the world's rarest ducks.
The flightless takahē is a colourful green and blue bird with an impressive red beak and short stout legs. The takahē are classified as an endangered species.
The New Zealand tomtit looks similar to a robin. They are a small bird with a large head, a short bill and tail, and live in forest and scrub.
Tūī are unique (endemic) to New Zealand and belong to the honeyeater family, which means they feed mainly on nectar from flowers of native plants.
The variable oystercatcher is a large heavily-built shorebird. Adults have black upperparts, their underparts vary from all black, through a range of ‘smudgy’ intermediate states to white.
The weka is a large, brown flightless bird that has a famously feisty and curious personality. These two qualities traditionally made the bird an easy food source for Māori and early European settlers.
The Westland petrel (tāiko) is endemic to New Zealand and breeds only on the West Coast of the South Island.
The white heron has always been rare in New Zealand and it has gained almost mythical status.
The whitehead/pōpokotea has a series of clear tuneful calls that fill the forest with a pleasant cacophony of sound when they appear in flocks high in the canopy of the forest.
The yellowhead/mōhua is a small, insect eating bird which lives only in the forests of New Zealand's South Island and Stewart Island.
For a complete list of birds found in New Zealand, visit the New Zealand Birds Online website
The Bird Identification online course will help you identify the 10 New Zealand forest birds most commonly recorded during five minute bird counts.