Godwit
Image: DOC 

Introduction

Review a list of birds that can be found at Southland's Awarua Bay. More than 80 different species have been recorded.

Wading birds 

  • White-faced Heron (Ardea novaehollandiae). Present in moderate numbers throughout the year. Regular mudflat feeder.
  • South Island Pied Oystercatcher (Torea) (Haematopus ostralegus). Present throughout the year. Abundant in summer and autumn.
  • Variable Oystercatcher (Toreapango) (H. unicolor). A few black phase birds generally present throughout the year.
  • Hybrid Black/Pied Stilt (H.sp.). One record of two hybrid birds.
  • Australasian Pied Stilt (Poaka) (Himanotopus himanotopus). Present in good numbers throughout the year.
  • New Zealand Dotterel (Tuturiwhatu) (Charadrius obscurus). Breeds on Stewart Island. Up to 30% of the total southern population present in autumn and winter.
  • Banded Dotterel (C. bicinctus). Breeds in small numbers. Large summer and autumn flocks.
  • Mongolian Dotterel (C. mongolus). A single record of this species.
  • Wrybill (Ngutuparore) (Anarhynchus frontalis). Occasionally recorded.
  • Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva). Breeds northeast Siberia and western Alaska. Regular summer visitor.
  • Grey Plover (P. squatarola). Breeds northern Europe, Asia and America. Uncommon visitor to New Zealand. Two records from Awarua Bay. More frequently seen at the west end of Waituna Lagoon.
  • Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus miles). A few usually present.
  • Turnstone (Arenaria interpres). Breeds in northern Europe, Asia and America. Second most common migratory wader. Some birds over-winter each year.
  • Lesser Knot (Huahou) (Calidris canutus). Breeds in arctic Eurasia. Regularly present in moderate numbers, some of winter most years.
  • Sanderling (C. alba). Breeds northern Europe, Asia and America. Occasional summer visitor in low numbers. Seldom recorded elsewhere in Southland.
  • Curlew Sandpiper (C. ferruginea). Breeds arctic Asia. Regular summer visitor in low numbers.
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (C. acuminata). Breeds northeast Siberia. Regular summer visitor in low numbers.
  • Pectoral Sandpiper (C. melanotus). One record of a single bird.
  • Red-necked Stint (C. ruficollis). Breeds northeast Siberia and northwest Alaska. Occasional summer visitor in moderate numbers.
  • Eastern Broad-billed Sandpiper (Limicola falcinellus). Breeds arctic Europe and Asia Rare visitor to New Zealand. One record from Awarua Bay.
  • Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis). Breeds northeast Asia. Occasional summer visitor in low numbers.
  • Asiatic Whimbrel (N. phaeopus variegata). Breeds northeast Asia. One record of two birds.
  • American Whimbrel (N. p. hudsonicus). Breeds northern Canada and Alaska, migrating to Central and South America. Occasionally strays to New Zealand. A very rare summer visitor.
  • Eastern Bar-tailed Godwit (Kūaka)(Limosa lapponica). Breeds eastern Siberia and north Alaska. Most abundant of the migratory waders. Some birds over-winter each year.
  • Hudsonian Godwit (L. haemastica). Breeds northwest Canada and Alaska. One record of two birds.
  • Siberian (Grey-tailed) Tattler (Tringa brevipes). Breeds northern Asia. Regular summer visitor in low numbers (up to 5). Seldom recorded elsewhere in Southland. Has been known to over-winter.
  • Greenshank (T. nebularia). Breeds subarctic Eurasia. Occasional summer visitor seldom recorded elsewhere in Southland.
  • Marsh Sandpiper (T. stagnatilis). Breeds eastern Europe to Mongolia. Confirmed sighting in November 1984 was first in Southland.
  • Terek Sandpiper (T. terek). Breeds northern Europe and Asia. Rare summer visitor in low numbers.

Waterfowl

  • Black Swan (Cygnus atratus). Regularly present but numbers fluctuate seasonally.
  • Mallard (Anas platyrhynchus). Present in high numbers throughout the year.
  • Grey Duck (Parera) (A. superciliosa). Occasionally present in low numbers.
    Grey Teal (Tete) (A. gracilis). A nomadic species periodically recorded in low numbers.
  • New Zealand Shoveler (Kuruwhengu) (A.rhynchotis). Present in moderate numbers.
  • Sooty Shearwater (Tītī) (Puffinus griseus). Occasionally seen feeding near head of the bay.

Other species

  • Black shag (Kōau) (Phalacrocorax carbo). Present throughout the year in moderate numbers. Breeds in Waituna wetlands.
  • Little shag (Kawaupaka) (P. melanoleucos). Abundant throughout year. Breeds in Awarua and Waituna swamps.
  • Stewart Island shag (Leucocarbo chalconotus). Present in good numbers throughout the year. Breeds in Bluff Harbour.
  • Australasian Bittern (Matuku) (Botaurus poiciloptilus). Solitary birds recorded in marginal vegetation, especially on Tiwai Peninsula.
  • Spotless Crake (Puweto) (Porzana tabuensis). Recorded in marginal vegetation at head of bay. Rare in Southland.
  • Marsh Crake (P. pusilla). Present in low numbers in marginal vegetation.
  • Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica). Breeds Northern Hemisphere and Australia. Rare visitor. At least two records from bay.
  • Caspian Tern (Taranui) (Hydroprogne caspia). Present in low numbers. Has bred at some sites about the bay.
  • Black-fronted Tern (Tarapiroe) (Sterna albostriata). Present in low numbers, especially in mid-summer and autumn.
  • White-fronted Tern (Tara) (S. striata). Resident. Formerly bred on spit by causeway but now largely displaced by black-backed gulls.
  • Eastern Little Tern (S. albifrons). Breeds eastern Asia. Rare visitor.
  • South Island Fernbird (Mātāa) (Bowdleria punctata). Resident and breeding in marginal vegetation at head of bay and on Tiwai peninsula.
  • Southern black-backed gull (Karoro) (Larus dominicanus). Present throughout the year in high numbers. Breeding colony on spit by causeway.
  • Red-billed gull (Tarapunga) (L. novaehollandiae). Present throughout the year in moderate numbers. Odd pairs known to breed on spit by causeway.

Related link

The Arawai Kakariki programme - working to restore the Waituna Lagoon/Awarua wetland complex

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