Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Birds of New Zealand by Tica and Ian

Weka, Golden Bay, South Island, NZ (Photo by Ian)

Here is a list of the birds we saw or heard in New Zealand. The original spreadsheet also includes the scientific names as well as whether the birds are endemic, native or introduced.
There was not enough room to include these items however. -- Tica and Ian

Common Name


Australasian Gannett

yellow head and black at the tip of wings, big breeding colony at Muriwai Bay, we went but they had already flown north toward better weather, saw one in Abel Tasman National Park (South Island) and Otamure Beach on the North Island

Australasian Harrier

very common, often seen dining on road kill on the side of the road or surveying fields near the road

Australian Magpie

many spotted in fields on the side of the road

Australian Pied Cormorant

not very common


call similar to a Tui but without the grunts and clicks

Black billed gull

very common

Black Fronted Tern


Black-backed Gull

very common


New Zealand's most common bird

Brown Kiwi

New Zealand's national bird, looks as though it has as a very long bill, but it has the shortest in the world because scientists measure from a bird's beach from the nostrils; kiwi nostrils are located at the end of the beak so they can rifle through leaves for grubs and things

California Quail

seen at many different camps on the North Island

Caspian Tern

less common


very common

Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow)

very common

Eastern Rosella

seen on the North Island in Shakespear Regional Park and in the central North Island, usually seen in pairs

European Goldfinch

The most colorful bird in New Zealand; frequently seen in flocks


flits around like a butterfly; very friendl;. sometimes lands on people


seen on Tiritiri Mitangi island


we only saw three

Grey Teal

endangered, looks like a female mallard

Grey Warbler

House Sparrow

very common in cities and campgrounds


cheeky mountain parrot


mostly on the side of the road near bodies of water and at the beach, don't make noise as much as kingfishers at home


very rare only seen on the North Island

Little Blue Penguin

world's smallest penguin

Little Pied Shag

aka cormorant, very common


owl species that is often heard but seldom seen


only seen on the North Island as they find the South Island to be too cold

New Zealand Dotterel

uncommon shore bird, we saw some at Matapuri Bay, North Island

New Zealand Falcon


New Zealand Pigeon

wood pigeon, much bigger than city pigeons, lives in forests, fast whirring wing beats like a city pigeon

New Zealand Pipit

we only saw one

New Zealand Robin

very small and black with long legs

Paradise Shellduck

very common, most often seen in pairs, female has white head while drake has black head

Pied Stilt

very common


common in fields along the side of roads, especially damp ones, talk with their tails

Red Billed gull

very common

Red crowned parakeet

extinct on the main islands of New Zealand, found in bird sanctuaries like Tiritiri Matangi


Seen at Arthur's Pass National Park

Ringed-Necked Pheasant

rather commonly seen in fields

Rock Pigeon (City Pigeon)

found mostly in citys


only found on the North Island and only in places on the South Island, look a lot like a crow only bigger

Royal Albatross

very large with impressive wingspan, seen on the tip of the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin and at Nugget Point on the east coast, South Island




very common


very common

Song Thrush

seen at almost all camps on the North Island

Southern Crested Grebe

Very rare, only 45 left in the world, seen in just outside of Arthur's Pass NP, South Island

Spur-Winged Plover

seen most often on the side of the road, feeding in fields


second most common bird in New Zealand (behind the blackbird)




sometimes mistaken for a stichbird


song includes grunts and clicks and high piched peeps

Variable Oystercatcher

very common


Odd looking bird, sort of like a cross between a kiwi and a duck, seen around campgrounds on the South Island

Welcome Swallow

Flies very fast to catch sand flies

White Head

not common

White-faced Heron

common around bodies of water

White-Fronted Tern

less common

Yellow-Eyed Penguin

One world's rarest penguin


in mountains

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