Introduction

The kakī/black stilt Visitor Hide is a great place to see one of New Zealand’s rarest birds up close.

Kaki visitor hide.
Kakī visitor hide


The kakī/black stilt visitor hide is closed until further notice due to significant damage caused by heavy snow in 2015.

Visit the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre for further information about kakī/black stilt.


The kakī/black stilt visitor hide is next to the Department of Conservation’s captive breeding centre, just outside of Twizel in the Mackenzie Basin, central South Island

Kakī or black stilts are the world’s rarest wading bird. They are very distinctive with completely black plumage and long red legs. Unique to New Zealand, they are regarded by Māori as a taonga species (living treasure).

Kakī have been intensively managed since 1981. The Department of Conservation’s captive breeding centre plays an important role in the Kakī Recovery Programme. A number of kakī pairs are held at the centre for captive breeding. All kakī eggs are artificially incubated and the young chicks are raised in captivity. At 3–9 months they are released into the wild. Rearing them in captivity significantly increases their chances of survival by preventing predation when they are most vulnerable (as chicks and eggs).

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