New Zealand Birds
Bird Watching vacations in New Zealand are quite specialised and the independent traveller should plan their vacation with care, aiming to move around the country as much as possible in an effort to increase the number of bird species that can be seen, particularly if planning a short visit (i.e. less than 2 weeks).
There are key areas of the North Island that are well worth a visit.
These include Cape Reinga
for Spoonbills, waders, Black-winged Petrels and many other offshore sea birds, Aroha Island
in the Bay of Islands for birds such as the Reef Heron, Banded Rail, Morepork and Brown Kiwi. Muriwai
for the Australasian Gannet colony, Tiritiri Matangi Island
in the Hauraki Gulf (out of Auckland), a protected and predator free reserve where 69 species of bird have been recorded including: Blue Penguin, Brown Teal, Takahe, Red-crowned Parakeet, Stitchbird, Saddleback, Whitehead, NZ Robin, Bellbird, Tui, Kokako, Spotless Crake, Little Spotted Kiwi.
(For further information about Tiritiri Matangi visit their web site at www.tiritirimatangi.org.nz
take a pelagic trip with Pterodroma Palagics, more information at www.haurakigulfseabirds.co.nz
Moving further south, Miranda Naturalists Trust, a mudflat reserve on the Firth of Thames
is renowned for large populations of waders particularly Pied Oystercatchers, Wrybill, Bar-tailed Godwits and Lesser Knot. In
addition there is a list of 36 other species seen regularly including NZ dotterel, red-necked stint, sharp-tailed and terek sandpiper and Fairy Tern.
For Spotted Shag visit the north coast of the Coromandel Peninsula
, birds can be seen perched on the rocky outcrops off shore.
The lake at Rotorua
is home to a large population of NZ Scaup and these can be seen close to the shore generally around the jetty in the town. A boat trip to Mokoia Island
can be taken from the jetty and on the island there are opportunities to see Weka,
Saddleback, NZ Robin Bellbird and possibly Stitchbird. The Government Gardens
near the lake are worthy of a scan and the silica shoreline in Sulphur Bay
can be good for various waders including Pied Stilt, Masked Plover and Banded Dotterel.
a great location to see and walk amongst the ancient Podocarps trees. This forest is home to NZ Falcon, Kokako, Kaka, Yellow-crowned Parakeet, Morepork, and the tiny Rifleman.