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List of New Zealand birds

As a land without terrestrial mammals of any kind, New Zealand was, until the arrival of the first humans, inhabited by an extraordinarily diverse range of specialised birds. The ecological niches occupied by mammals as different as cows and rodents, kangaroos and moles, were filled by reptiles, insects, or birds.

When humans arrived in New Zealand sometime between 800 and 1300, this unique and unusual ecology was endangered. Several species were hunted to extinction, most notably the moa and harpagornis. The most damage however was caused by the other animals that humans brought with them, particularly rats (both the Polynesian rat or kiore imported by Maori and the Brown Rat subsequently introduced by the Europeans), but also dogs, cats, stoats, weasels, 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 "mainland islands" from which predators have been eliminated. Consequently New Zealand is today a world leader in the techniques required to bring severely endangered species back from the brink of extinction.

The birds below are listed by their Maori name (where known) with English alternatives in brackets. In some cases (tui, kaka, weka, pukeko, moa, kiwi, kea, kokako, takahe) the Maori 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 49 species marked extinct became extinct subsequent to humans' arrival in New Zealand. Of these, 34 extinctions occurred after the arrival of Maori but before the arrival of Pakeha with 15 further extinctions since.

Sorted (at least in part)


  • Dinornithidae - 11 species
    • Little Bush Moa , Anomalopteryx didiformis (extinct)
    • Upland Moa , Megalapteryx didinus (extinct)
    • Heavy-Footed Moa , Pachyornis elephantopus (extinct)
    • Crested Moa , Pachyornis australis (extinct)
    • Mappin's Moa , Pachyornis mappini (extinct)
    • Eastern Moa , Emeus Crassus, (extinct)
    • Stout-Legged Moa , Euryapteryx geranoides (extinct)
    • Coastal Moa , Euryapteryx curtus (extinct)
    • Slender Bush Moa , Dinornis struthoides (extinct)
    • Large Bush Moa , Dinornis novaezealandiae (extinct)
    • Giant Moa , Dinornis giganteus (extinct)
  • Apterygidae
    • North Island Brown Kiwi , Apteryx mantelli North Island
    • Okarito Brown Kiwi , Apteryx mantelli Okarito
    • Southern Tokoeka Kwi , Apteryx australis Fiordland/Stewart Island'
    • Southern Tokoeka Kiwi (Haast tokoeka), Apteryx australis 'Haast',
    • Great Spotted Kiwi , Apteryx haastii
    • Little Spotted Kiwi , Apteryx owenii



  • Sulidae
    • Takapu (Gannet) Sula serrator
  • Procellariidae
    • Antarctic Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus Vulnerable
    • Hall's Giant Petrel Macronectes halli Near-threatened
    • 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
    • White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessonii
    • Phoenix Petrel Pterodroma alba Rare/Accidental Vulnerable
    • Mottled Petrel Pterodroma inexpectata Near-threatened
    • Providence Petrel Pterodroma solandri Rare/Accidental Vulnerable
    • Kermadec Petrel Pterodroma neglecta Rare/Accidental
    • Taiko (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 Endangered
    • Gould's Petrel Pterodroma leucoptera Rare/Accidental Vulnerable
    • Black-winged Petrel Pterodroma nigripennis
    • Chatham Petrel Pterodroma axillaris Breeding endemic Critically endangered
    • Stejneger's Petrel Pterodroma longirostris Rare/Accidental Vulnerable
    • Pycroft's Petrel Pterodroma pycrofti Breeding endemic Vulnerable
    • Blue Petrel Halobaena caerulea
    • 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
    • Gray Petrel Procellaria cinerea Near-threatened
    • White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis
    • 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 (Muttonbird or Sooty Shearwater) Puffinus griseus
    • 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 (Albatross)
    • Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans
    • Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora
    • Gray-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma Vulnerable
    • Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris
    • Buller's Albatross Thalassarche bulleri Vulnerable
    • Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta Near-threatened
    • Chatham Albatross Thalassarche eremita Critically endangered
    • Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos
    • Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca Rare/Accidental Vulnerable
    • Light-mantled Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata Near-threatened


  • Phaetontidae
    • Amokura (Red-tailed Tropic Bird) Phaethon rubricauda
  • Pelecanidae
    • New Zealand Pelican , Pelecanus novaezealandiae (extinct)
  • Phalacrocoracidae
    • Kawau (Great Cormorant), Phalacrocorax carbo
    • Karuhiruhi (Pied Cormorant), Phalacrocorax varius
    • Little Black Cormorant , Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
    • Kawaupaka (Little Pied Cormorant), Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
    • Parekareka (Spotted Shag or Blue Shag), Phalacrocorax punctatus
    • Auckland Islands Shag , Phalacrocorax colensoi
    • Campbell Island Shag , Phalacrocorax campbelli
    • King Shag , Phalacrocorax carunculatus
    • Bronze Shag , Phalacrocorax chalconotus
    • Stewart Island Shag , Phalacrocorax featherstoni
    • Chatham Island Shag , Phalacrocorax onslowi
    • Bounty Islands Shag , Phalacrocorax ranfurlyi


  • Ardeidae
    • New Zealand Little Bittern Ixobrychus novaezelandiae (extinct)


  • 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)
    • Whio (Blue Duck) Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos, Endangered
    • Putangitangi (Paradise Shelduck) Tadorna variegata
    • Papango (Black Teal or New Zealand Scaup) Aythya novaeseelandiae
    • Auckland Islands Teal Anas aucklandica Endangered
    • Campbell Islands Teal Anas nesiotis Critically endangered
    • Pateke (Brown Teal) Anas chlorotis, Endangered
    • North Island Goose , Cnemiornis gracilis (extinct)
    • South Island Goose , Cnemiornis calcitrans (extinct)
    • New Zealand Swan, Cygnus sumnerensis (extinct)


  • Rallidae
    • New Zealand Coot Fulica chathamensis (extinct)
    • Chatham Island Rail Rallus modestus (extinct)
    • Giant Chatham Island Rail Diaphorapteryx hawkinsi (extinct)
    • Chatham Island Banded Rail Rallus dietienbachii (extinct)
    • Hodgen's Rail Gallinula hodgeni (extinct)
    • Dieffenbach's Rail Rallus philippensis dieffenbachii (extinct)
    • Snipe-Rail Capellirallus karamu (extinct)
    • Adzebill Aptornis otidiformis (extinct)
    • Auckland Islands Rail Lewinia muelleri Vulnerable
    • Pukeko (Purple Swamphen), Porphyrio porphyrio
    • North Island Takahe, Porphyrio mantelli (extinct)
    • South Island Takahe, Porphyrio hochstetteri Endangered
    • Weka (Woodhen) Gallirallus australis Vulnerable



  • Charadriidae
    • South Island Oystercatcher Haematopus finschi
    • Chatham Oystercatcher Haematopus chathamensis Endangered
    • Torea (Variable Oystercatcher) Haematopus unicolor
    • Ngutuparore (Wrybill) Anarhynchus frontalis, Vulnerable
    • Kaki (Black Stilt) Himantopus novaezelandiae, Critically endangered
    • Tuturiwhatu (New Zealand Dotterel) Charadrius obscurus, Vulnerable
    • Tuturuatu (Shore Plover) Thinornis novaeseelandiae, Endangered
    • Chatham Islands Snipe Coenocorypha pusilla Vulnerable
    • Giant Chatham Island Snipe Coenocorypha chathamica, Extinct
    • Hakawai (New Zealand Snipe) Coenocorypha aucklandica
      • Stewart Island Snipe Coenocorypha aucklandica iredalei, Extinct
      • Little Barrier Snipe Coenocorypha aucklandica barrierensis, Extinct
    • Huahou (Red Knot) Calidris canutus
  • Laridae
  • Sternidae
    • Taranui (Caspian Tern)
    • Tarapiroe (Black-fronted Tern) Chlidonias albostriatus Endangered
  • Stercorariidae (Hakoakoa)
    • Arctic Skua, Stercorarius parasiticus (Migratory visitor)
    • Brown Skua (Subantarctic Skua), Catharacta lonnbergi


  • Podicipedidae
    • Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae
    • Weweia (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 (Marsh Harrier) Circus approximans
    • Harpagornis Harpagornis moorei, Extinct
    • Chatham Island Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus australis, Extinct
  • Falconidae
    • Karearea (New Zealand Falcon) Falco novaeseelandiae


  • Strigidae
    • Whekau (Laughing Owl) Sceloglaux albifacies, Extinct
    • Ruru (Morepork) Ninox novaeseelandiae


  • Aegothelidae
    • New Zealand Owlet-Nightjar Aegotheles novaezealandiae Extinct


  • Cuculidae
    • Koekoea (Longtailed Cuckoo) Eudynamys taitensis


  • Psittacidae
    • Kaka (Bush Parrot) Nestor meridionalis
    • Kakariki (New Zealand Parakeet) - 2 species
    • Red-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae
    • Yellow-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus auriceps
    • Kakapo (Owl Parrot) Strigops habroptilus Critically endangered
    • Kea (Mountain Parrot) Nestor notabilis threatened



  • Acanthisittidae
    • Kotuhi (South Island Bush Wren) Xenicus longipes longipes, Extinct
    • Kotuhi (North Island Bush Wren) Xenicus longipes stokesi, Extinct
    • Kotuhi (Stead's Bush Wren) Xenicus longipes variabilis, Extinct, 1967, Big South Cape Island, following invasion of ship rats onto the island
    • South Island Rock Wren Xenicus gilviventris
    • Matuhi (Stephens Island Wren) Traversia lyalli (Extinct)
    • Titipounamu (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 species
  • Sylviidae
    • Matata (Fernbird) Megalurus punctatus Endemic
  • Petroicidae
    • Miromiro (Tomtit) Petroica macrocephala Endemic
    • Toutouwai (New Zealand Robin) Petroica australis Endemic
    • Chatham Robin Petroica traversi Endemic Endangered
  • Pachycephalidae
    • Whitehead Mohoua albicilla Endemic
    • Mohua (Yellowhead) Mohoua ochrocephala Endemic
    • Pipipi (Brown Creeper) Mohoua novaeseelandiae Endemic
  • Acanthizidae
    • Riroriro (Grey Warbler) Gerygone igata Endemic
    • Chatham Gerygone Gerygone albofrontata Endemic
  • Meliphagidae
    • Hihi (Stitchbird) Notiomystis cincta threatened Endemic
    • Tui (Parson Bird) Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae Endemic
    • Red Wattlebird, Anthochaera carunculata Rare/Accidental
  • Callaeidae
    • Kokako Callaeas cinerea Endemic
      • North Island Kokako, Callaeas cinerea wilsoni, Endangered
      • South Island Kokako , Callaeas cinerea cinerea, Probably extinct
    • Tieke (Saddleback) Philesturnus carunculatus Endemic
      • North Island Saddleback , Philesturnus carunculatus rufusater endangered
      • South Island Saddleback , Philesturnus carunculatus carunculatus endangered
    • Huia Heteralocha acutirostris Extinct
  • Pardalotidae
    • Korimako (New Zealand Bellbird), Anthornis melanura Endemic
    • Chatham Island Bellbird Anthornis melanocephala Extinct
  • Muscicapidae
    • Piopio Turnagra capensis, Extinct
    • Chatham Island Fernbird Bowdleria rufescens, Extinct

For a comprehensive listing, see Australasian birds, which includes the birds of New Zealand, Australia, and the Southern Ocean.

External Links

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45