One of the most special things about New Zealand is that it has a plethora of native birds that are unique only to the country.
Whether you’re an avid bird watcher, or just keen to spot some beautiful birds, check out some of our favourites below. Each bird has an English and Māori name (if not already) so try your hand at using both!
With its eye-catching deep blue-green feathers and white wattle, plus its loud, melodic call, you’ll be sure to spot a tūī or two. Tūī are found in backyards and the native bush so this bird is well known to New Zealanders.
Also commonly known as the New Zealand wood pigeon, the kererū are endemic to the country’s mainland. Kererū plays an important part as a seed disperser for native trees due to being the only remaining New Zealand bird who can swallow large fruit! Sadly, their numbers are declining mainly due to habitat loss and predation.
Photo credit: @mrabhisheksalian
Don’t miss this energetic wee bird as it flits from place to place with its iconic fan tail. Always on the lookout for its next meal, fantails aren’t shy and often fly close to people – especially in greener areas so that they can catch any small insects that are on the move from activities, like walking.
Despite being used as a symbol worldwide for New Zealanders (including our colloquial nickname), kiwis are tricky to spot due to their nocturnal nature. Named for the sound of their call, kiwis are the only bird to have nostrils at the end of their long beaks.
Swamp harrier (kāhu)
Picture credit: @rookiekeeper
If you find yourself on a road trip on one of New Zealand’s open country roads, you may well spot a swamp harrier as it swoops on its prey nearby. If injured while in the wild, a swamp harrier may be lucky enough to be taken to Wingspan in Rotorua – a conservation and rehabilitation organisation specifically for New Zealand’s birds of prey.
These are just five of the over two hundred species of native birds that call New Zealand their home! Native flora, fauna and nature play such a big part in New Zealand’s identity which make it one of the top destinations in the world to visit.
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