Fantail/pīwakawakaPHOTO: Shellie Evans ©
Find out about the forest birds of New Zealand, and what we are doing to protect and restore native bird populations.
The bellbird, unique to New Zealand, is easily recognised by its melodious song. Although bellbirds are still widespread, mammalian predators keep their numbers low. Bellbirds are among the species benefitting from DOC's pest control work.
The recovery of the Chatham Islands black robin from the brink of extinction is an internationally renowned conservation success story.
The critically endangered Chatham Island pigeon or parea is restricted to the Chatham Islands. Although similar in appearance to the New Zealand pigeon, it is around 20% heavier, making it one of the world's heaviest pigeons.
Known for its friendly ‘cheet cheet’ call and energetic flying antics, the aptly named fantail is one of the most common and widely distributed native birds on the New Zealand mainland.
The grey warbler is a relatively inconspicuous grey bird that flits about the canopy of the forest but its call permeates the forest and takes the edge off a hard uphill slog for any attentive tramper.
The kākā is a large parrot belonging to the nestorinae family, a group that includes the kea and the extinct Norfolk Island kākā.
The kākāpō (night parrot) is one of New Zealand’s unique treasures with only 126 known surviving birds. It is listed internationally as a critically endangered species.
The New Zealand kea is an endemic parrot found in the South Island's alpine environments.
The kiwi is a unique and curious bird: it cannot fly, has loose, hair-like feathers, strong legs and no tail. Learn more about the kiwi, the national icon of New Zealand and unofficial national emblem.
The kōkako belongs to the endemic New Zealand wattlebirds, an ancient family of birds which includes the North and South Island saddleback and the extinct huia.
The morepork is New Zealand’s only surviving native owl. It is known for its haunting, melancholic call.
The North Island robin, also known as toutouwai, is a friendly and trusting bird and is found in both native and exotic forests.
The Northland brown kiwi is a variety of brown kiwi. It faces the special challenges, especially from dogs - but you can make a difference.
Capable of flying at speeds over 100 km/h and catching prey larger than itself, the NZ falcon/kārearea is one of New Zealand's most spectacular birds.
Kākāriki, meaning ‘small green parrot’ in Māori, are beautiful forest birds. They feed on berries, seeds, fruit and insects, and generally nest in holes in trees.
The kererū is a large bird with irridescent green and bronze feathers on its head and a smart white vest. The noisy beat of its wings is a distinctive sound in our forests.
A small reclusive bird, rock wrens are restricted to small pockets of the South Island’s high country. They are poor fliers, nest on the ground and are easy targets for introduced predators.
The saddleback or tīeke belongs to New Zealand's unique wattlebird family, an ancient group which includes the endangered kōkako and the extinct huia.
The silvereye – also known as the wax-eye, or sometimes white eye – is a small and friendly olive green forest bird with white rings around its eyes.
Stitchbird/hihi is a medium-sized forest species that is one of New Zealand’s rarest birds.
The flightless takahē is a colourful green and blue bird with an impressive red beak and short stout legs. The takahē are classified as an endangered species.
The New Zealand tomtit looks similar to a robin. They are a small bird with a large head, a short bill and tail, and live in forest and scrub.
Tūī are unique (endemic) to New Zealand and belong to the honeyeater family, which means they feed mainly on nectar from flowers of native plants.
The weka is a large, brown flightless bird that has a famously feisty and curious personality. These two qualities traditionally made the bird an easy food source for Māori and early European settlers.
The whitehead/pōpokotea has a series of clear tuneful calls that fill the forest with a pleasant cacophony of sound when they appear in flocks high in the canopy of the forest.
The yellowhead/mōhua is a small, insect eating bird which lives only in the forests of New Zealand's South Island and Stewart Island.
The Bird Identification online course will help you identify the 10 New Zealand forest birds most commonly recorded during five minute bird counts.