A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

10,000 Birds

Finally, not so long ago digital photography opened doors to a never before seen number of amateurs shooting at professional level, including one of New Zealand’s youngest nature photographers, Oscar Thomas. Reviews book review field guides New Zealand

Restless New Zealand Fantails

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In his comment in last week’s post on the Marlborough Sounds , Beat writer Jochen described the New Zealand Fantail as one of the best birds in the world. wakawaka, the New Zealand Fantail is a delightful inhabitant of New Zealand, and one of my favourite local birds. The New Zealand Fantail was once placed with the Grey Fantail of Australia, but are now treated as separate, because of science.

Acclimatisation Societies of New Zealand

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New Zealand has a very odd biota these days. They took dogs to Australia, chickens across the Pacific, rabbits to England, horses to the New World, and then brought potatoes back. So that New Zealand would end up with quite a few species of animal not originally found here is hardly surprising of itself. To understand the impulse, we need to go back to New Zealand in the Victorian era, in the early days of European settlement.

9 Years in New Zealand

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As I mentioned in passing last week, I’ve just passed nine years since I moved to the Land of the Long White Cloud, Aotearoa, New Zealand. New Zealand is simultaneously birdy and not birdy. Any birder seeking every bird family on Earth would have to come here, as no less than six bird families are endemic – the kiwis, New Zealand parrots, New Zealand wrens, Stichbird, wattlebirds and mohouas (more families formerly found here are sadly now lost).

New Zealand Loses Another Endemic

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I almost missed it, but New Zealand lost another endemic species recently. Hell, we gained a new endemic in New Zealand just a few weeks back when the Stewart Island Shag was split into the Otago Shag and Foveaux Shag. I’m not exactly sure why it failed to remain a separate species from the all-conquering Silver Gull of Australia and New Caledonia. Birds gull lumpers New Zealand endemics taxonomy

Kereru, the New Zealand Pigeon

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The New Zealand Pigeon , often known by its Maori name Kereru , or colloquially as woodpigeon, is a large and conspicuous part of New Zealand’s avifauna. As pigeons go it is very large, measuring up to 50 cm, and it is one of two species of pigeon endemic to New Zealand. Kereru or New Zealand Pigeon ( Hemiphaga novaseelandiae ) are also very attractive birds. Birds New Zealand pigeons

New Zealand, Australia to Conduct Whale Research Too

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New Zealand and Australia are joining forces to carry out research on whales using non-lethal methods, in an attempt to challenge Japan's hunting programme. Tags: australia whales new zealand Japan Good news! It's non-lethal. Eighteen scientists will set sail for Antarctica next month to study minke, humpback and blue whale populations. They will also be assessing the impact of climate change on the whales.

Weka, New Zealand’s Nimble-beaked Thieves

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The Weka is not New Zealand’s largest surviving flightless rail, but unlike the Takahe it remains relatively common across parts of New Zealand, particularly areas of South Island. A chick searching a picnic area for food The Weka is a living reminder of the forces that once held sway across New Zealand, and land once dominated by bold, large ground living birds. Birds New Zealand endemics rails

Diving New Zealand – Goat Island

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Goat Island, off New Zealand’s Northland, was an amazing diving location without any birds. Goat Island is one of New Zealand’s oldest marine reserves, one which I have written about before because of its importance in demonstrating the wide range of benefits that marine reserves can have for both the environment, recreational divers and even fishermen. In my opinion, if you’re a birder you should diver too.

New Zealand’s Other Eagle

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While New Zealand is famous for its endemic oddities, once upon a time New Zealand also had many birds from groups and families that are no longer found here. The mysterious piopio were recently recognized for what they were, New Zealand’s representatives from the oriole family. New Zealand had eagles. So why have you never heard of New Zealand’s other eagle?

Little Barrier Island and the New Zealand Storm-petrel

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Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland was already one of the most important offshore reserves in New Zealand. This week it emerged that the island is important for another rare New Zealand bird, the critically endangered New Zealand Petrel. New Zealand Storm-petrel (right) with White-faced Storm-petrel (left). Conservation New Zealand Conservation New Zealand endemics

Labour Urges New Zealand to Support Australia's Call to End Whaling

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Tags: australia whales new zealand whaling

Saving a New Zealand Icon

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Kiwi, New Zealand icons par excellence , are rather endangered. The suite of predators introduced to New Zealand, on the whole, can’t do to much damage to adult kiwi. To deal with this peril to one of New Zealand’s most important birds (or family of birds, there are five species of kiwi), one bank has been spearheading a campaign to save those chicks. Birds kiwi New Zealand New Zealand Conservation

Pieces of the New Zealand Puzzle

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But today, briefly, let’s recall that I am supposed to be the New Zealand beat writer. I’m pleased to do this because two bits of the puzzle of New Zealand’s faunal history were in the news today, and besides, it means I don’t have to think about some tropical idyll in this miserable Antipodean winter day. New Zealand’s birds and mammals come from a number of sources. New Zealand Sea Lion by Karora (Creative Commons).

Sad News from New Zealand

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“Sandra,” a Kakapo first identified over twenty years ago, was found dead after her transmitter harness tangled in some vegetation. The transmitters are used so biologists can track the critically endangered bird. Asides

Mega Rarity Tour of New Zealand – Extinction Special

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We’ll also keep our eyes open for several members of the New Zealand wren family. One of the oldest families of songbirds, which broke off before the oscines and sub-oscines split – and before New Zealand and Antarctica did! Stopping briefly at Miranda on the Thames Estuary for shorebirds and your first crack at the curious and clever New Zealand Raven , we’ll head into the kauri forests of the Coromandel. New Zealand Bittern.

Swimming Stoats a Problem in New Zealand

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New Zealand has turned many of its offshore islands into introduced-predator-free sanctuaries for native wildlife but Stoats , also known as Ermine or Short-Tailed Weasel , which were originally introduced to New Zealand to combat the introduced rabbit population, recently showed up on two different offshore islands, one of which was over five kilometers offshore.

Grallards: New Zealand’s Next Extinction or Newest Species?

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Yesterday i introduced you, gentle reader, to the lovely work done by the acclimatisation societies of New Zealand in making the already interesting biogeography of this country even more complicated. New Zealand had, once upon a time, some fairly spectacular game birds, including massive flightless geese, massive flightles rails, and really enormous moa. The solution, as you might imagine from this go getting era, was to bring some better ducks to New Zealand.

Winter comes to New Zealand

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In New Zealand, however, the austral winter is not a particularly strong, due to the strong maritime influence and proximity to the equator. Most transplanted Brits and Americans might however acidly observe that due to the New Zealand ignorance to such simple concepts as insulation, double glazing and central heating even though it isn’t sub-polar outside it certainly feels that way in the homes here.)

Christmas In New Zealand (And Out)

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One of the nice things about Christmas in New Zealand is that we get to experience it in the summer, when things are pretty kicking here. Since I started this blog I’ve wanted to do a post on pohutukawa, or New Zealand Christmas tree, and every Christmas I have been away. That said, I have managed to get out quite a lot recently, practicing with my new camera and trying to see a Bronze Shining Cuckoo. Have a great Christmas and a fantastic New Year.

Week 12: Wrapping up New Zealand, and Tiritiri

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After nearly 8 weeks here in New Zealand, the sun is setting on our visit. The local New Zealand people, across the board have been the most hospitable, welcoming folks I have ever met. There is no way I can have a discussion about New Zealand, the country and its birds, without giving a huge nod to the effort put out, to both save what they have and restore what they are close to losing. 93 New Lifers.

Road birding in New Zealand

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So, inspired by a similar article on road birding in Thailand, I present road birding in New Zealand. As with any kind of road birding, birding as a car passenger in New Zealand generally restricts the kind of birds you’re going to see. You aren’t going to tick off many brown skulky types, but New Zealand only has one of them anyway, so there isn’t much lost there. So that is birding on the road in New Zealand.

Stichbirds, New Zealand’s Surprising Family

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When I first visited New Zealand, back in 2000, the Stichbird was just a rare species of honeyeater (Meliphagidae), one of three representatives of that Australian family to be found here. It certainly resembles one, and has plumage that brings to mind the New Holland Honeyeater , a common bird if you’ve ever been to Sydney. Birds New Zealand Conservation New Zealand endemics

New Zealand Storm-petrels; Back from the Dead

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New Zealand has had its share of rediscovered birds too. The most recent rediscovery represents one of the longer absences from our attention, however, that of the New Zealand Storm-petrel. A blurry photo of the New Zealand Storm-petrel ( Oceanites maorianus, or is it?), The New Zealand Storm-petrel is about as mysterious a bird as can be found in New Zealand, even by the standards of barely known mysterious birds you find here.

“Getting Closer” — a book review

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He has a special interest in the Tomtit population in the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, near his home on New Zealand’s South Island – but the book includes images of all kinds of Antipodean birds, used to illustrate fieldcraft techniques that, he says, will interest photographers of all levels.

Week Six: Doubtful Sound, South Island, New Zealand

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We have finally broken away from Christchurch, New Zealand. The afternoon was spent fishing for Blue Cod, and diving for Lobsters, or Crayfish as they are called here in New Zealand. These Tomtit’s are fast becoming one of my favorite New Zealand Birds. Mollymawks are what many of the Albatross’s are called here in New Zealand. I wrapped up my New Zealand oystercatchers, with the South Island Oystercatcher south of lake Manapouri.

2018 40

The Pelican is not a New Zealand Bird

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As 10,000 Birds’ New Zealand beat writer, I sometimes should write about New Zealand birds, but today I thought I’d talk about a bird that people thought was one but almost certainly wasn’t. It is one of the many species that went extinct in New Zealand, only for once it didn’t. This is the story of the pelicans of New Zealand. So what were these Australian birds doing in New Zealand?

Fight for the Wild

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The Kea – New Zealand’s enigmatic alpine parrot. It is also strange, perhaps, that the subject of this short excellent video series, is not from Australia but from the true ‘land of birds’ across the ditch from Australia – New Zealand or Aotearoa.

Tourist Tries to Smuggle 44 Lizards in Underwear

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Tags: wildlife smuggling wildlife trafficking reptiles Stupid new zealand lizards

2009 109

Mohouidae, the newest bird family

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If you’re into family ticks, and into armchair ticks, well, I hope you’ve been to New Zealand, because the island just got another endemic bird family. That the three species of mohoua (genus Mohoua ) are New Zealand’s newest family is hardly a surprise. Like many of the new families they represent a lineage that no one could quite work out where to put. Birding Birds New Zealand New Zealand endemics taxonomy

Community conservation in action – Rotokare

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It’s a model that is now happening across New Zealand, and it was nice to experience it near my friend’s house in Taranaki. I was particularly excited to visit this site as it had listed on its website a few species that I had not seen in over a decade, and a few I also happened to need for my year list (which is only low in comparison to the fanatics that work on this site, who also happen not to live in such a species poor place as New Zealand).

2013 55

Animal Cruelty Database at Pet-Abuse.com

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You can search for all kinds of crimes against animals in the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Spain. Tags: canada australia animal abuse UK new zealand us There are 14,436 cases in the animal abuse database. Great research tool. Amazing work.

Kakapo are having a great year.

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Endemic to New Zealand, it has been declining since humans arrived but crashed after the arrival of Europeans and the species Europeans introduced. Conservation New Zealand Conservation New Zealand endemics parrotsIt sometimes feels like being a conservationist is like being a punching bag, blow after blow of bad news after bad news hits us day after day.

2016 41

Bid for the chance to raise Kakapo!

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The Department of Conservation in New Zealand is giving you, yes you , the chance to spend two days and one night raising Kakapo chicks ! Bidding is on TradeMe (New Zealand’s eBay), and the money raised will go to clearing the Antipodes Islands of introduced rats ( a story we talked about before ). Bidding ends Sunday in New Zealand, Saturday in the US. Asides Kakapo New Zealand Conservation parrots

Can Stewart Island become Pest Free?

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New Zealand has one of the direst records of extinction is modern times, second on really to Hawaii in terms of bird species lost. I’ve also touched on how New Zealanders have responded to these extinctions, but not in as much depth. At 11.300 hectares it is the largest island to date that has been cleared, and also the most challenging, far to the south of New Zealand in the difficult Southern Ocean. Where does New Zealand go from here?

2012 59

What is a Jackbird?

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But there is one such bird in New Zealand, and it is, as far as I know the only songbird where the young bird has a unique name (I’m sure I’ll be corrected in the comments). The saddlebacks are both members of the of the New Zealand wattlebird family, which includes the two kokako (one extinct and one… probably extinct) and the sadly lost Huia. Birds Bird Conservation New Zealand endemics New Zealand extinctions

2016 40

Stalking a Kiwi Icon

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home about advertise archives birds conservation contact galleries links reviews subscribe Browse: Home / Birds / Stalking a Kiwi Icon Stalking a Kiwi Icon By Duncan • March 16, 2011 • 1 comment Tweet Share Most people, if asked, would confidently name what they thought the National Bird of New Zealand was. They would all be wrong, as New Zealand has no official National Bird.

2011 49

Where are the Shore Plovers going?

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Shore Plovers , a critically endangered species from New Zealand, have been reintroduced to several small islands off of New Zealand that were cleared of predators. Asides New ZealandA flock of about twenty of the birds keep flying from Mana Island , presumably to the mainland, but scientists can’t figure out where. Have any kiwis on the Kapiti coast seen some Shore Plovers recently?

2011 56

Move Over Counting Crows, Here are the Counting Robins

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So the massive project I’m working on reaches its climax this weekend, and my laptop is still broken… so here is a New Zealand bird story that is in the New York Times of all things! It’s a cool set of experiments that have been happening here in Wellington which have demonstrated the amazing mathematical aptitude of the New Zealand Robin. Birds behaviour bird behaviour math New Zealand endemics

2014 57

The Little Big Year 2018: Best Birds of the Year!

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The Southern Brown Kiwi on Stewart Island, New Zealand, that ran down the path in front of me, was never captured. Of course, the one bird pre-destined to be a favorite, would be the last new bird of the year. They might very well have their Kiwi, but in my opinion, no bird could possible represent the country of New Zealand as well as the beautifully voiced Tui. I wish all of you the Happiest of New Years, and an unending stream of wonderful new birds!

2019 48

Orokonui Sanctuary, Dunedin

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Mainland island sanctuaries are popular in New Zealand for any number of reasons. Dunedin sells itself as the wildlife capital of New Zealand, in no small part due to its impressive seabird colonies (more of which later this month), but in Orokonui they now have a sanctuary to find rarer forest birds. Interestingly though I have seen this species in a number of reserves across New Zealand it was the first time I had seen them in South Island, their true native home.

The Very Angry Tui

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I’ve stated in the past that I thought that the Pukeko, or Purple Swamphen, is New Zealand’s most iconic bird after the kiwi. Tui are large members of the honeyeater family, one of two species found in New Zealand. They are interesting for a number of reasons, like their range, which stretches from the sub-tropical Kermadec Islands to the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands, along with pretty much every place in New Zealand in between.

2013 56

Sea Shepherd Activist Could Face Jail Time in Japan

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Tags: sea shepherd whales new zealand Japan

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