10 Native New Zealand Birds You Should Know

Sep 20, 2018

Yesterday we did native trees now we are getting you well into conservation week with 10 Native New Zealand Birds You Should Know. Some of these are super common and others you will have to travel to pest free islands like Tiritiri Matangi to see!

Find out whats happening with Conservation Week!

1. Tūī

One of the loudest, most boisterous and well known native birds, the Tui is found all over New Zealand singing it’s iconic melody. Tui’s call is unique to the area they are in. With a iridescent blue green feathers and it’s white wattle Tui are very recognisable.

2. Kererū

The keruru with its beautiful purple, green, blue feathers are seen widespread throughout New Zealand. A very relaxed bird you will see it hanging out on power-lines and the tops of trees. If you are lucky you might be get to witness its spectacular aerobatics as it dives through the sky.

3. Pīwakawaka (Fantail)

Weighing in at a mere 8g fantails are one of the most well known and confident birds. Very often you’ll find yourself walking through some bush with a Piwakaka flittering around your head waiting for you to disturb some insects that they can snap up from the air.

4. Ruru (Morepork)

Often heard but rarely see the distinctive call of ‘more-pork’ can be heard echoing through many neighbourhoods of the North Island at night. Surprisingly small at 29 cm, like most owls it hunts at night catching insects, small mammals and birds.

5. Kōkako

If you’ve heard a Kokako before then you won’t of have forgotten about it. It’s distinctively eerie coo echos around the forest, reminiscent of ancient New Zealand forests. It’s stark blue wattle is a sight to see but you’ll have to head deep into the bush to see one of these amazing birds. The South Island Kōkako with its orange wattles  is considered extinct but some people will say its still out there!

6. Korimako (Bellbird)

Captain James Cook said of the bellbird “This wild melody was infinitely superior to any that we had heard of the same kind; it seemed to be like small bells most exquisitely tuned…” Bellbirds have a beautiful melody that many europeans noted upon their arrival in Aotearoa. Now because of pests bellbirds have been wiped out of big cities but on predator free islands their song again dominates the landscape.

7. Riroriro (Grey Warbler)

Weighing is at 5.5g the Riroriro is almost New Zealand's smallest bird (smallest is the rifleman). Even though they are small they can belt out a mighty tune heard all over New Zealand. You will of definitely heard its unique call.

8. Tīeke (Saddleback)

With a striking orange saddle across its back the saddleback is a very conspicuous bird, foraging noisily on the ground usually in pairs. Extremely common before european arrival it is now confined to pest controlled areas.

9. Kāhu

If you’ve seen an eagle like creature swoop over the road or you’ve startled one off a dead possum in your car then this was most likely a Kahu. Found throughout New Zealand it is a native bird that has been able the benefit from forest clearance and agriculture

10. Whio (Blue Duck)

Next time you have a $10 note take a look and you will see our endemic duck, the Whio. The Whio has incredible diving abilities in fast running rivers. One could watch and marvel at it’s underwater skills for hours. You’ll have to travel up to high altitude rivers to see them though. If you do see one listen out four the males wheezy W-hio call.

 

Resources:

If you want to learn more about the birds of New Zealand, see some pictures and hear their calls check out the website below for a wealth of information!

http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz

Thank you Birds Online for all of your wisdom and your beautiful photos!

 


Dylan Steeples
Dylan Steeples

Author

Tamaiti of Papatūānuku



 

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