5 Amazing Birds of New Zealand

Last Updated on December 2, 2023

New Zealand is a real bird paradise! Since birds are the main representatives of the animal fauna here, a huge number of them appeared.

At the moment, there are 200 endemic birds in the country that live only in New Zealand. They are just the most unusual and entertaining.

When the Maori landed on the shores of the island in 1320 AD, there were many more birds. But during their exploration of New Zealand, many birds died out. There is an opinion, for example, that the mysterious huge moa bird, which was as tall as a man and looked like a small dinosaur, was eventually exterminated by the local population.

Moa Bird

Photo from www.science.org

In this article, I will talk about a few pet birds that I have already met.

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Kea is considered the smartest bird in the world! The kea is a species of alpine parrot and was so named for its characteristic long downward cry of “Keeeeeeaaaa!”.

Basically, kea lives in mountainous areas, for example, there are many of them in the Southland region in the very south of the South Island. There are several mountain trails with amazing views. On certain trails, there are huts located in the areas where keas often gather, knowing that they can always find something interesting left by tourists.

Kea Birds Native Kea

These birds are the favorites of tourists, as they do funny and amazing things, once again proving their unprecedented ingenuity. For example, some kea would turn on the water faucet or lock some tourists in the toilet.

Kea is a little thief and can steal a wallet, food, and even shoes! Very often, birds open an abandoned backpack and drag things from there. In addition, they can hold the find for a long flight with strong claws. One kea even stole a camera and flew away with it.

Sometimes kea form groups, where one bird distracts tourists while another raids a backpack or abandoned things.


Kiwi has long been and remains the symbol of New Zealand. It can be found on postcards, souvenirs, in the form of soft toys, figurines, and much more.

This timid and shy bird has a unique profile with a long beak that attracts everyone. Kiwi beak can reach 15 centimeters long! There are several species that live in the North and South Islands. However, the most famous kiwi place is Stewart Island – the third largest island in New Zealand. Here kiwi can be found even early in the morning.

Kiwi Bird

Photo from phys.org

Kiwis are usually nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are active at night. They spend the whole night searching for food.

When they are not gathering food, they are patrolling their territory. When walking, the bird leaves behind strong-smelling droppings to mark its territory. The only kiwis that may be in this territory are members of his family. If another kiwi still wanders into someone else’s territory, they will fight.

Kiwis are omnivores. They eat worms, larvae, insects, berries, and seeds, which they find thanks to their excellent sense of smell. Kiwis are the only birds that have nostrils at the tips of their beaks. In most birds, the nostrils are closer to the face.

Kiwis find a companion for life. However, often the female finds a male she likes better and leaves her mate.

The kiwi has one of the highest egg-to-body weight ratios of any bird. According to the New Zealand Department of Conservation, on average, an egg makes up 15 percent of a female’s body weight. However, it can be up to 20 percent of its weight. For comparison, this is if a woman weighing 54 kg gave birth to a child weighing 11 kg. The female lays one to two eggs at a time up to three times a year.


Tui is a noisy medium-sized bird, they are ubiquitous throughout New Zealand. They are scarce only in the drier, mostly open areas east of the Southern Alps. They live in natural forests, bush reserves, and bush remnants. From afar, they appear black, but in good light, tui has a blue, green, and bronze iridescent sheen and characteristic white throat tufts (poi). Their songs are very melodic, and in spring the forests are filled with their sonorous voices.

Tui is known for its aggressiveness and will protect a flowering or fruitful tree or a small part of a large tree from anyone, be it another arborvitae or another bird species. They vigorously drive other birds out of the territory with a loud wing noise. Tui has a demonstration flight in which they take off up, and then noisily, almost vertically, dive down. Tui is one of the most important pollinators of flowering plants in New Zealand and they also carry seeds of trees with medium-sized fruits.

Tui Bird


Hoiho, or yellow-eyed penguin, is one of the rarest penguins in the world, with a population of up to 5,000 adults. It is endemic and endangered in New Zealand. They are trying to save it with all their might, although the population of the South Island penguins continues to decline.

In August, the breeding season begins. The female lays her eggs around September-October, and by the beginning of the New Zealand summer, new chicks are ready for the first voyage.

In March, molting begins – this is when adult birds change their plumage and get new shiny smooth feathers. Birds are at their most vulnerable at this time. After that, they are ready to return to the hunt and continue their life cycle.

Hoiho Yellow-Eyed Penguin


This colorful bird is the pukeko of New Zealand. In Auckland, you will meet him quite often in parks and on rivers. They are good swimmers and runners! Mostly vegetarian, but may eat frogs, small fish, and invertebrates.

Pukeko Bird

They live in groups of 3-12 and call loudly to successfully defend nests during attacks by Australian harriers. When they fail to scare away predators, they may leave their nests.

The Maori in New Zealand associated red with nobility and power, so the bird was highly respected and considered the main pet because of its red beak and legs.

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