The yellowhead or mōhua is a small, insect eating bird which lives only in the forests of New Zealand’s South Island and Stewart Island.
Albatrosses are the world’s largest seabirds, spending at least 85% of their lives at sea. New Zealand’s albatrosses include two species of royal albatross. The Māori word for them is ‘toroa’.
Tūī are unique (endemic) to New Zealand. They belong to the honeyeater family which means they feed mainly on the nectar from flowers of native plants.
The tūī can often be heard singing their beautiful melodies long before you can actually spot them!
The word ‘poe’ is a Tahitian word meaning ‘a pearl’ - It has been said that our tūī was named the poe bird by traders because its white tuft of feathers resembled pearls worn by the Tahitian people.
Pūkeko is the New Zealand name for the purple swamphen. There are many subspecies but those found in New Zealand are thought to have landed here around a thousand years ago from Australia.
The morepork or ‘ruru’ is New Zealand’s only surviving native owl.
If you hear the call of a morepork (ruru), it actually sounds as if it is calling out the word ‘morepork’.
In Māori tradition the morepork (ruru) was seen as a watchful guardian and their call was thought to be a good sign.
A morepork can turn their head 270 degrees!
The kiwi is a unique bird – it can not fly, has loose hair-like feathers, strong legs and no tail.
The kiwi is the national icon of New Zealand.
New Zealanders have been called ‘Kiwis’ since the nickname was given to us by Australian soldiers in World War One.
There are five species of Kiwi in New Zealand and all of them are endangered.
House sparrows were introduced to New Zealand first in the mid 1860’s. They are found everywhere in New Zealand except for high mountains and bush.
Birds have feathers, wings, lay eggs and are warm blooded.
Scientists believe that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs.
Birds have hollow bones which help them fly.
A common backyard bird in New Zealand is the blackbird. Blackbirds are not native to New Zealand – they came here from Europe, north-west Africa and the Middle East.
Blackbirds were introduced throughout the three main islands of New Zealand between 1867 and 1880.
Some common backyard birds in NZ are the chaffinch, goldfinch, greenfinch, thrush, starling and mynah bird.
The Kererū or wood pigeon is endemic (unique) to New Zealand. They are one of the largest pigeons in the world.
The fantail or pīwakawaka is a friendly, energetic bird native to New Zealand.
Pīwakawaka or the fantail is one of New Zealand’s native forest birds that features widely in Māori mythology and legends.