List of birds of New Zealand

List of birds of New Zealand

Being an island nation with a history of long isolation and having no land mammals apart from bats, the birds of New Zealand evolved into an avifauna that included a large number of endemic species (that is, species found in no other country). Over the 65 million year isolation from any other land-mass New Zealand became a land of birds and when Captain James Cook arrived in the 1770s he noted that the bird song was deafening. Māori and European settlement has been the cause of a huge decline in the numbers of birds and the extinction of over 40% of the 115 or more endemic species.

History after human settlement

300px-Kea_on_rock_while_snowingNew Zealand birds were, until the arrival of the first humans, an extraordinarily diverse range of specialised birds. In New Zealand, the ecological niches normally occupied by mammals as different as rodents, kangaroos and moles, were filled by reptiles, insects, or birds. The only terrestrial mammals were three species of bat (of which two survive today).

When humans arrived in New Zealand about 700 years ago this unique and unusual ecology became endangered. Several species were hunted to extinction, most notably the moa and harpagornis. The most damage however was caused by habitat destruction and the other animals humans brought with them, particularly rats (the Polynesian rat or kiore introduced by Māori and the brown rat and black rat subsequently introduced by Europeans), but also mice, dogs, cats,stoats, weasels, pigs, goats, deer, hedgehogs, and Australian possums. The flightless birds were in particular danger. Consequently, many bird species became extinct, and others remain critically endangered. Several species are now confined only to offshore islands, or to fenced “ecological islands” from which predators have been eliminated. New Zealand is today a world leader in the techniques required to bring severely endangered species back from the brink of extinction.

During the early years of European settlement many bird species were introduced for both sport and for a connection with the settler’s homelands. New Zealand had a starkly different appearance to the countries from where the settlers came.

Comparison to global bird fauna

The terrestrial birds, wetland birds and seabirds in New Zealand each make up about a third of the total number of species. This is in sharp contrast to the composition of the global bird species where 90% are terrestrial.

When humans first arrived in New Zealand, there were at least 131 species of land, freshwater and coastal birds, and another 65 species of seabirds (gulls, albatrosses, petrels and penguins), making at least 196 native species in total, according to a 1997 report (this count may have risen since as subspecies have been reclassified as species). Of the 131 species that lived on or near land, 93 (or 71%) were endemic, and of the 65 seabirds, 22 (or 34%) were endemic, making 115 (or 59%) endemic species in total.


Due to habitat loss, their historical use as a food source by Māori, and predation by introduced species, many birds have become extinct and numerous more are threatened with extinction. Huge conservation efforts are being made to save the takahe, kakapo, mohua, kokako and the kiwi. One well documented conservation success story, due in a large part to the efforts of Don Merton, is the saving of the black robin on the Chatham Islands.

From human settlement to 1994, 43 (or 46%) of the 93 endemic land, freshwater and coastal species have become extinct, as have 4 of the 22 endemic seabird species (making 41% of all endemic species extinct), according to a 1997 report. Fifteen species extinctions have occurred since 1840 (this count will have risen to 16 when the North Island snipe was raised from subspecies to species level). According to the 2005 New Zealand Threat Classification System list, 153 species or subspecies were then threatened with extinction.

In this list of New Zealand birds, Māori names (where known) are given first, followed by English alternatives. In some cases (Tui, Kākā, Weka, Pūkeko, moa, kiwi, Kea, Kōkako, Takahē) the Māori name is the common name. In other cases (fantail, albatross, Black-backed Gull, bellbird, Morepork, dotterel, Wax-eye, oystercatcher) the English name is most commonly used.

The species and subspecies marked extinct became extinct subsequent to humans’ arrival in New Zealand. About two thirds of the extinctions occurred after the arrival of Māori but before the arrival of Pākehā and the rest since Pākehā arrived.

In June 2010 the 4th Edition of the Checklist of the birds of New Zealand and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica was published by Te Papa Press, in association with the Ornithological Society of New Zealand.


  • Spheniscidae
    • King Penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus – rare/accidental
    • Emperor Penguin, Aptenodytes forsteri – rare/accidental – Near-threatened
    • Gentoo Penguin, Pygoscelis papua – rare/accidental – Near-threatened
    • Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae – rare/accidental – Near-threatened
    • Chinstrap Penguin, Pygoscelis antarctica – rare/accidental
    • Rockhopper Penguin, Eudyptes chrysocome
      • Western (Southern) Rockhopper Penguin, Eudyptes (chrysocome) chrysocome – Vulnerable
      • Eastern Rockhopper Penguin, Eudyptes (chrysocome) filholi
      • Northern Rockhopper Penguin, Eudyptes (chrysocome) moseleyi – Endangered
    • Tawaki or Fiordland Penguin, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus – Vulnerable
    • Snares Penguin, Eudyptes robustus – Vulnerable
    • Erect-crested Penguin, Eudyptes sclateri – Endangered
    • Macaroni Penguin, Eudyptes chrysolophus – rare/accidental – Vulnerable
      • Royal Penguin, Eudyptes chrysolophus schlegeli – rare/accidental – Vulnerable
    • Hoiho or Yellow-eyed Penguin, Megadyptes antipodes – Endangered
    • Kororā or Blue Penguin, Eudyptula minor
      • White-flippered Penguin, Eudyptula minor albosignata
    • Magellanic Penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus – rare/accidental – Near-threatened
    • Waitaha penguin, Megadyptes waitaha – extinct


  • Procellariidae
    • Antarctic Giant Petrel, Macronectes giganteus
    • Hall’s Giant Petrel, Macronectes halli
    • Southern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialoides
    • Antarctic Petrel, Thalassoica antarctica – Rare/Accidental
    • Cape Petrel, Daption capense
    • Great-winged Petrel, Pterodroma macroptera
    • Tahiti Petrel, Pterodroma rostrata – Rare/Accidental – Near-threatened
    • White-headed Petrel, Pterodroma lessonii
    • Phoenix Petrel, Pterodroma alba – Rare/Accidental – Endangered
    • Mottled Petrel, Pterodroma inexpectata – Near-threatened
    • Providence Petrel, Pterodroma solandri – Rare/Accidental – Vulnerable
    • Kermadec Petrel, Pterodroma neglecta – Rare/Accidental
    • Taiko or Magenta Petrel, Pterodroma magentae – Breeding endemic – Critically endangered
    • Soft-plumaged Petrel, Pterodroma mollis
    • Juan Fernandez Petrel, Pterodroma externa – Rare/Accidental – Vulnerable
    • White-necked Petrel, Pterodroma cervicalis – Rare/Accidental – Vulnerable
    • Cook’s Petrel, Pterodroma cookii – Breeding endemic – Vulnerable
    • Gould’s Petrel, Pterodroma leucoptera – Rare/Accidental – Vulnerable
    • Black-winged Petrel, Pterodroma nigripennis
    • Ranguru or Chatham Petrel, Pterodroma axillaris – Breeding endemic – Endangered
    • Stejneger’s Petrel, Pterodroma longirostris – Rare/Accidental – Vulnerable
    • Pycroft’s Petrel, Pterodroma pycrofti – Breeding endemic – Vulnerable
    • New Zealand Storm Petrel, Oceanites Māorianus – recently rediscovered – Critical endangered
    • Blue Petrel, Halobaena caerulea – Rare/Accidental
    • Broad-billed Prion, Pachyptila vittata
    • Salvin’s Prion, Pachyptila salvini
    • Antarctic Prion, Pachyptila desolata
    • Slender-billed Prion, Pachyptila belcheri
    • Fulmar Prion, Pachyptila crassirostris
    • Fairy Prion, Pachyptila turtur
    • Grey Petrel, Procellaria cinerea – Near-threatened
    • White-chinned Petrel, Procellaria aequinoctialis – Vulnerable
    • Parkinson’s Petrel, Procellaria parkinsoni – Breeding endemic – Vulnerable
    • Westland Petrel, Procellaria westlandica – Breeding endemic – Vulnerable
    • Kerguelen Petrel, Aphrodroma brevirostris
    • Cory’s Shearwater, Calonectris diomedea – Rare/Accidental
    • Pink-footed Shearwater, Puffinus creatopus – Rare/Accidental – Vulnerable
    • Flesh-footed Shearwater, Puffinus carneipes
    • Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus pacificus – Rare/Accidental
    • Buller’s Shearwater, Puffinus bulleri – Breeding endemic – Vulnerable
    • Titi or Muttonbird or Sooty Shearwater, Puffinus griseus – Near-threatened
    • Short-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris
    • Christmas Shearwater, Puffinus nativitatis – Rare/Accidental
    • Manx Shearwater, Puffinus puffinus – Rare/Accidental
    • Hutton’s Shearwater, Puffinus huttoni – Breeding endemic – Endangered
    • Fluttering Shearwater, Puffinus gavia
    • Little Shearwater, Puffinus assimilis
  • Toroa or Albatross
    • Wandering Albatross, Diomedea exulans – Vulnerable
    • Royal Albatross, Diomedea epomophora – Vulnerable
    • Black-footed Albatross, Diomedea nigripes – Near-threatened
    • Grey-headed Albatross, Thalassarche chrysostoma – Endangered
    • Black-browed Albatross, Thalassarche melanophris – Near-threatened
    • Buller’s Albatross, Thalassarche bulleri – Near-threatened
    • Shy Albatross, Thalassarche cauta – Near-threatened
    • Chatham Albatross, Thalassarche eremita – Vulnerable
    • Yellow-nosed Albatross, Thalassarche chlororhynchos – Endangered
    • Sooty Albatross, Phoebetria fusca – Rare/Accidental – Endangered
    • Light-mantled Albatross, Phoebetria palpebrata – Near-threatened


  • Phaethontidae
    • Amokura or Red-tailed Tropicbird, Phaethon rubricauda
  • Pelecanidae
    • Australian Pelican, Pelecanus conspicillatus
  • Sulidae
    • Takapu or Australasian Gannet, Sula serrator
  • Phalacrocoracidae
    • Kawau or Great Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
    • Karuhiruhi or Pied Cormorant, Phalacrocorax varius
    • Little Black Cormorant, Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
    • Kawaupaka or Little Pied Cormorant, Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
    • Parekareka or Spotted Shag or Blue Shag, Phalacrocorax punctatus
    • Auckland Shag, Phalacrocorax colensoi – Vulnerable
    • Campbell Shag, Phalacrocorax campbelli – Vulnerable
    • King Shag, Phalacrocorax carunculatus – Vulnerable
    • Bronze Shag, Phalacrocorax chalconotus – Vulnerable
    • Pitt Shag, Phalacrocorax featherstoni – Endangered
    • Chatham Shag, Phalacrocorax onslowi – Critical endangered
    • Bounty Shag, Phalacrocorax ranfurlyi – Vulnerable


  • Anatidae
    • Auckland Island Merganser, Mergus australis – extinct
    • Blue-billed Duck, Oxyura australis
    • De Lautour’s Duck, Biziura delautouri – extinct
    • Chatham Island Duck, Pachyanas chathamica – extinct
    • Scarlett’s Duck, Malacorhynchus scarletti – extinct (see related Pink-eared Duck)
    • Whio or Blue Duck, Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos – Endangered
    • Putangitangi or Paradise Shelduck, Tadorna variegata
    • Papango or Black Teal or New Zealand Scaup, Aythya novaeseelandiae
    • Auckland Islands Teal, Anas aucklandica – Vulnerable
    • Campbell Islands Teal, Anas nesiotis – Endangered
    • Pateke or Brown Teal, Anas chlorotis – Endangered
    • North Island Goose, Cnemiornis gracilis – extinct
    • South Island Goose, Cnemiornis calcitrans – extinct
    • New Zealand Swan, Cygnus sumnerensis – extinct


  • Rallidae
    • Chatham Coot, Fulica chathamensis – extinct
    • New Zealand Coot, Fulica prisca – extinct
    • Chatham Island Rail, Gallirallus modestus – extinct
    • Hawkins’s Rail, Diaphorapteryx hawkinsi – extinct
    • Hodgen’s Rail, Gallinula hodgeni – extinct
    • Dieffenbach’s Rail, Gallirallus dieffenbachii – extinct
    • Snipe-rail, Capellirallus karamu – extinct
    • Adzebill, Aptornis otidiformis – extinct
    • Auckland Islands Rail, Lewinia muelleri – Vulnerable
    • Pūkeko or Purple Swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio
    • North Island Takahē, Porphyrio mantelli – extinct
    • South Island Takahē, Porphyrio hochstetteri – Endangered
    • Weka or Woodhen, Gallirallus australis – Vulnerable


  • Phasianidae
    • Chukar, Alectoris chukar – Introduced
    • Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa – Introduced
    • Grey Partridge, Perdix perdix – Introduced
    • New Zealand Quail or koreke, Coturnix novaezelandiae – extinct
    • Brown Quail, Coturnix ypsilophora – Introduced
    • Ring-necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus – Introduced
    • Indian Peafowl, Pavo cristatus – Introduced
  • Odontophoridae
    • California Quail, Callipepla californica – Introduced


  • Charadriidae
    • South Island Oystercatcher, Haematopus finschi
    • Chatham Island Oystercatcher, Haematopus chathamensis – Endangered
    • Torea or Variable Oystercatcher, Haematopus unicolor
    • Ngutuparore or Wrybill, Anarhynchus frontalis – Vulnerable
    • Kaki or Black Stilt, Himantopus novaezelandiae – Endangered
    • White-headed Stilt or Pied Stilt, Himantopus leucocephalus
    • Tuturiwhatu or New Zealand Dotterel, Charadrius obscurus – Endangered
    • Tuturuatu or Shore Plover, Thinornis novaeseelandiae – Endangered
    • Chatham Islands Snipe, Coenocorypha pusilla – Vulnerable
    • Forbes’ Snipe, Coenocorypha chathamica – Extinct
    • Subantarctic Snipe, Coenocorypha aucklandica
    • Snares Snipe, Coenocorypha huegeli
    • South Island Snipe, Coenocorypha iredalei – Extinct
    • North Island Snipe, Coenocorypha barrierensis – Extinct
    • Huahou or Red Knot, Calidris canutus
  • Laridae
    • Karoro or Southern Black-backed Gull or Kelp Gull, Larus dominicanus
    • Silver Gull, Larus novaehollandiae
    • Red-billed Gull, Larus scopulinus – Endemic
    • Black-billed Gull, Larus bulleri – Endemic – Endangered
  • Sternidae
    • Taranui or Caspian Tern, Hydroprogne caspia
    • White-fronted Tern Sterna striata
    • Tarapiroe or Black-fronted Tern, Chlidonias albostriatus – Endangered
    • Tara-iti or New Zealand Fairy Tern, Sternula nereis davisae – Critically Endangered
  • Stercorariidae or Hakoakoa
    • Arctic Skua, Stercorarius parasiticus – Migratory visitor
    • Brown Skua or Subantarctic Skua, Catharacta lonnbergi


  • Columbidae
    • Kererū or New Zealand Pigeon, Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae – Endemic
    • Rock Dove, Columba livia – Introduced
    • Spotted Dove, Streptopelia chinensis tigrina – Introduced
    • Barbary Dove, Streptopelia risoria – Introduced


  • Podicipedidae
    • Australasian Grebe, Tachybaptus novaehollandiae
    • Weweia or New Zealand Dabchick, Poliocephalus rufopectus – Endemic – Vulnerable
    • Hoary-headed Grebe, Poliocephalus poliocephalus – Rare/Accidental
    • Great Crested Grebe, Podiceps cristatus


  • Accipitridae
    • Eyles’ Harrier, Circus eylesi – Extinct
    • Kahu or Swamp Harrier, Circus approximans
    • Harpagornis or Haast’s Eagle or New Zealand Eagle or Giant Eagle, Harpagornis moorei – Extinct
  • Falconidae
    • Karearea or New Zealand Falcon, Falco novaeseelandiae


  • Strigidae
    • Whekau or Laughing Owl, Sceloglaux albifacies – Extinct
    • Ruru or Morepork, Ninox novaeseelandiae


  • Aegothelidae
    • New Zealand Owlet-Nightjar, Aegotheles novaezealandiae – Extinct


  • Cuculidae
    • Koekoea or Longtailed Cuckoo, Eudynamys taitensis
    • Pipiwharauroa or Shining Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx lucidus


  • Cacatuidae
    • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua galerita – Introduced
  • Psittacidae
    • Red-fronted Parakeet or Kākāriki, Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae – Vulnerable
    • Malherbe’s Parakeet or Orange-fronted Parakeet, Cyanoramphus malherbi – Critically endangered
    • Yellow-crowned Parakeet or Kākāriki, Cyanoramphus auriceps
    • Antipodes Parakeet, Cyanoramphus unicolor – Vulnerable
    • Forbes’ Parakeet, Cyanoramphus forbesi – Endangered
    • Eastern Rosella, Platycercus eximius – introduced
  • Strigopidae
    • Kea or Mountain Parrot, Nestor notabilis – Vulnerable
    • Kākā or Bush Parrot, Nestor meridionalis – Endangered
    • Kākāpō or Owl Parrot, Strigops habroptila – Critically endangered


  • Acanthisittidae
    • Matuhi or Bush Wren, Xenicus longipes – Extinct
      • South Island Bush Wren, Xenicus longipes longipes – Extinct
      • North Island Bush Wren, Xenicus longipes stokesi – Extinct
      • Stead’s Bush Wren, Xenicus longipes variabilis – Extinct
    • Rock Wren, Xenicus gilviventris – Vulnerable
    • Stephens Island Wren, Traversia lyalli – extinct
    • Titipounamu or Rifleman, Acanthisitta chloris
    • Yaldwyn’s Wren, Pachyplichas yaldwyni – Extinct
    • Grant-Mackie’s Wren, Pachyplichas jagmi – Extinct
  • Corvidae
    • New Zealand Crow, Palaeocorax moriorum – Extinct
    • Rook, Corvus frugilegus – introduced
  • Motacillidae
    • Pīhoihoi or New Zealand Pipit, Anthus novaeseelandiae
  • Sylviidae
    • Matata or Fernbird, Megalurus punctatus – endemic
  • Petroicidae
    • Miromiro or Tomtit, Petroica macrocephala – endemic
    • Toutouwai or New Zealand Robin, Petroica australis – endemic
    • North Island Robin, Petroica longipes – endemic
    • Black Robin or Chatham Robin, Petroica traversi – endemic – endangered
  • Pachycephalidae
    • Popokotea or Whitehead, Mohoua albicilla – endemic
    • Mohua or Yellowhead, Mohoua ochrocephala – endemic
    • Pipipi or Brown Creeper, Mohoua novaeseelandiae – endemic
  • Acanthizidae
    • Riroriro or Grey Warbler, Gerygone igata – endemic
    • Chatham Gerygone, Gerygone albofrontata – endemic
  • Meliphagidae
    • Tui or Parson Bird, Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae – endemic
    • Red Wattlebird, Anthochaera carunculata – rare/accidental
  • Notiomystidae
    • Hihi or Stitchbird, Notiomystis cincta – endemic – threatened
  • Callaeidae
    • Kōkako, Callaeas cinerea – endemic
      • North Island Kōkako, Callaeas cinerea wilsoni – endemic – Endangered
      • South Island Kōkako, Callaeas cinerea cinerea – endemic – Probably extinct
    • Tieke or Saddleback, Philesturnus carunculatus – endemic
      • North Island Saddleback, Philesturnus carunculatus rufusater – endemic – Near threatened
      • South Island Saddleback, Philesturnus carunculatus carunculatus – endemic – Near threatened
    • Huia, Heteralocha acutirostris – Extinct
  • Pardalotidae
    • Korimako or New Zealand Bellbird, Anthornis melanura – endemic
    • Chatham Island Bellbird, Anthornis melanocephala – Extinct
  • Dicruridae
    • Piwakawaka or New Zealand Fantail, Rhipidura fuliginosa
  • Zosteropidae
    • Tauhou or Silvereye, Zosterops lateralis
  • Muscicapidae
    • Piopio, Turnagra capensis – Extinct
    • Chatham Island Fernbird, Megalurus rufescens – Extinct
  • Artamidae
    • Masked Woodswallow, Artamus personatus – rare/accidental
    • White-browed Woodswallow, Artamus superciliosus – rare/accidental
  • Cracticidae
    • Australian Magpie, Gymnorhina tibicen – introduced
  • Sturnidae
    • Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis – introduced
    • European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris – introduced
  • Emberizidae
    • Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella – introduced
    • Cirl Bunting, Emberiza cirlus – introduced
  • Fringillidae
    • Common Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs – introduced
    • European Greenfinch, Carduelis chloris – introduced
    • Common Redpoll, Carduelis flammea – introduced
    • European Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis – introduced
  • Passeridae
    • House Sparrow, Passer domesticus – introduced
  • Turdidae
    • Song Thrush, Turdus philomelos – introduced
    • Common Blackbird, Turdus merula – introduced
  • Hirundinidae
    • Welcome Swallow, Hirundo neoxena – recent self introduced
  • Alaudidae
    • Skylark, Alauda arvensis – introduced


  • Apterygidae
    • Great Spotted Kiwi, Apteryx haastii – endemic – vulnerable
    • Little Spotted Kiwi, Apteryx owenii – endemic – near threatened
    • Okarito Kiwi, Apteryx rowi – endemic – critically endangered
    • Southern Brown Kiwi, Apteryx australis – endemic – vulnerable
    • North Island Brown Kiwi, Apteryx mantelli – endemic – vulnerable
  • Dinornithidae
    • Upland Moa, Megalapteryx didinus – endemic – extinct
    • Bush Moa, Anomalopteryx didiformis – endemic – extinct
    • North Island Broad-billed Moa, Euryapteryx curtus – endemic – extinct
    • Stout-legged Moa, Euryapteryx geranoides – endemic – extinct
    • Eastern Moa, Emeus crassus – endemic – extinct
    • Heavy-footed Moa, Pachyornis elephantopus – endemic – extinct
    • Mappin’s Moa, Pachyornis mappini – endemic – extinct
    • Crested Moa, Pachyornis australis – endemic – extinct
    • Slender Bush Moa, Dinornis struthoides – endemic – extinct
    • North Island Giant Moa, Dinornis novaezealandiae – endemic – extinct
    • South Island Giant Moa, Dinornis giganteus – endemic – extinct
    • Credit: Wikipedia
February 11, 2014/ by / in

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