North island kaka
Image: © Sabine Bernert.

Introduction

New Zealand is known as the seabird capital of the world and is also home to a number of forest birds that live nowhere else on Earth.

Highlights

There are many reasons why the birds of New Zealand are remarkable and special. A lot of it has to do with the lack of that power that makes a bird a bird – the ability to fly!

Because there were no mammals present in New Zealand to eat birds and their eggs, and with plenty of good food on or near the ground; many species gradually lost the power of flight.

Flightlessness is only one characteristic contributing to the uniqueness of our birds. Many New Zealand birds are also very long-lived, and have slow breeding rates, as well as small clutch sizes and large eggs. Several species are nocturnal, and others have a large body size. All these features have contributed to their extinction or decline.

More on our remarkable birds

Back to top