New Zealand Bird Species

1: Kereru 

If you can hear heavy wingbeats overhead, it’ll be the kereru. NZ’s handsome native pigeon is widespread through the country and fond of powerlines and branches. 


 Sounding less like a bell and more like Adele, this enchanting songbird sounds big but is a small, green slip of a thing, fond of nectar and found on both islands. 


This little charmer will entrance you up close, but in truth it cares not a jot about you, merely the insects you displace. 

4:Grey Warbler/Riroriro

 NZ’s most widely distributed endemic bird species is also one of its smallest. Tending to hide in dense vegetation, the featherweight affirms its presence by warbling its jolly head off. 


Often mistaken by visitors to NZ as a kiwi, this large flightless bird has a keen nose for lunch crumbs and will often appear at well-frequented picnic spots. 


Often seen pecking about in paddocks or crossing the road in front of high- speed traffic. Territorial, highly social and easily recognised, it looks like a smooth blue chicken with a red forehead. 

7:Paradise Shelduck 

This colourful, conspicuous and honking waterfowl could be mistaken for a small goose as it hangs out in wild wetlands, river flats, sportsfields and other open grassed areas. 

8:Rifleman/Tititi Pounamu

 NZ’s smallest bird, this hyperactive forest-dweller produces a characteristic ‘wing-flicking’ while moving through the canopy and foraging up and down tree trunks. 


A national icon with an onomatopoeic name, at least for the male which cries ‘kiwi!’ The females make an ugly sound, a bit like someone with a sore throat. There are five different species. 

10: Robin 

Inhabiting forest and scrub, the distinct North Island and South Island robins stand leggy and erect, sing loud and long, and will often approach very close- ly. 


 Widespread inhabitants of forest and shrubland, the tomtit is often reclusive and hard to see, but occasionally moves in for a closer look. 


Resident only in the South Island, this is the world’s only true alpine parrot. Kea appear innately curious, but this is simply a pretence to peck destructively at your possessions. 


 The NZ falcon is a magpie-sized bird of prey found in both forest and open habitats such as tussocklands and roughly grazed hill country.