What's so special about New Zealand ?
Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand meaning the land of the long white cloud, is a 2,000-kilometer-long chain of islands set in the vastness of the Great Southern and Pacific Oceans is one of the world's unique birding destinations.
From the elusive flightless bird the Kiwi, that New Zealanders take as their own identity symbol, to some of the rarest endangered species and world renowned bird recovery programs, a New Zealand birding holiday is played out against a 100% pure backdrop of breathtaking beauty. To see most, if not all New Zealand’s endemics it is necessary to travel through much of the main three islands (North, South and Stewart Islands). En route you’re visiting a variety of landscapes: estuaries, beaches, rocky headlands, wetlands, rivers, lakes, forests, mountains and offshore sanctuary islands close to the mainland. Key birding locations are sometimes a day’s journey apart.
New Zealand Birding operators
The New Zealand Birding Network is a group of operators located throughout New Zealand offering bird-watching orientated tours, excursions and accommodation. In addition to unique birds and fantastic scenery, New Zealand has a well-developed infrastructure, visitor facilities are up-to-date. It is a safe and easy place to travel with friendly people who welcome visitors and love showing-off their country.
The Operator directory and map indicates where birding operators are located.
New Zealand's birds
New Zealand has special terrestrial birds including: three endemic bird families, kiwi (five species), NZ wattlebirds (kokako and saddleback) and NZ wrens (rifleman and rock wren); alpine and forest parrots (kea, kaka and kakariki); large flightless rails (weka); honeyeaters (the iridescent tui, NZ bellbird); precious forest species such as yellowhead, whitehead, brown creeper, NZ robin, NZ tomtit, long-tailed cuckoo, shining cuckoo; the curious wrybill plover; and the extremely rare and endangered black stilt and shore plover.
New Zealand also has the most diverse seabird community in the world, with no fewer than 85 species (95 different taxa) breeding in the region which includes NZ’s Subantarctic islands, the Chathams Group and the Kermadec Islands. This seabird fauna includes 35 endemic species and 49 endemic taxa. In addition to the breeders, many other seabirds visit New Zealand waters throughout the year, birds that breed close to Antarctica or on other islands of the Great Southern Ocean and the tropical Pacific. In short, New Zealand is an international seabird hotspot!