Birds of New Zealand

As New Zealand was an isolated archipelago for a long time, the birds evolved with unique appearances and behaviors. However, as people arrived, a lot of these birds were at risk of the problems brought by them. These included the introduction of pests like rats, habitat destruction due to clearing forests and hunting avian species that were incapable of dealing with the new threat. This led to the extinction of several species like the Haast’s Eagle and the Giant Moa.

However, thanks to conservation efforts, these birds are under much more protection nowadays, with many species getting a second chance. This includes the Kākāpō and several species of Kiwi, like the national bird of New Zealand – the North Island Brown Kiwi.

Birds of New Zealand

List of Common Birds Found in New Zealand

Birds of Prey

  • Australasian Harrier 
  • Black Kite
  • Morepork 
  • New Zealand Falcon
  • White-bellied Sea Eagle

Flightless Birds

  • Auckland Teal
  • Great Spotted Kiwi
  • Little Spotted Kiwi
  • North Island Brown Kiwi
  • Okarito Kiwi
  • Southern Brown Kiwi
  • Takahe
  • Weka

Sea Birds

  • Black Petrel
  • Buller’s Albatross
  • Fluttering Shearwater
  • New Zealand Storm Petrel
  • Royal Albatross
  • Sooty Shearwater
  • White-capped Albatross

Shore Birds

  • Banded Dotterel
  • New Zealand Dotterel
  • Pied Stilt
  • South Island Pied Oystercatcher
  • Variable Oystercatcher
  • Wrybill

Water Birds

  • Australasian Grebe
  • Gray Teal
  • Little Shag
  • New Zealand Scaup
  • Paradise Shelduck

Coastal Birds

  • Black-billed Gull
  • Spotted Shag 
  • Variable Oystercatcher
  • White-faced Heron

Ground Birds

Some of the best birdwatching sites in New Zealand include Tiritiri Matangi Island, Fiordland National Park, and Stewart Island. The peak season for birdwatching in New Zealand generally falls during the spring and summer months, from September to February.


1. Which is the rarest bird found in New Zealand?

While the rarest bird changes yearly, some rare New Zealand birds include the Kākāpō, the Fairy Tern, and the Orange-fronted Parakeet.

2. How many birds are endemic to New Zealand?

Before humans arrived in New Zealand, about 71% of the birds living there were believed to be endemic to the archipelago. Nowadays, there are close to 100 birds that are only seen in this country and nowhere else.

3. What is the smallest bird found in New Zealand?

The Rifleman, or Titipounamu as it is known in Maori, is the smallest bird found in New Zealand. It is less than four inches long and weighs about 0.3 oz.

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