Birds of the Native Rainforests

The native rainforests of the Catlins still support good numbers of common New Zealand native forest birds such as kereru (pigeon), tui, korimako (bellbird), pipipi (brown creeper), riroriro (grey warbler), miro miro (tomtit), ruru (morepork) and piwakawaka (fantail).

        Piwakawaka (fantail) - photo by Cheryl PullarKereru (pigeon) - photo by Cheryl Pullar

There are also some of the rare native bush birds such as kakariki (parakeet), kaka, titipounamu (rifleman), karearea (falcon) and mohua (yellowhead) to be seen. On the western and northern borders of the Catlins’ forests, the drier and colder climate limits tree growth and the forests give way naturally to shrubland and tussock grassland.

Birds of the Estuaries and the Sea

Spoonbill. Photo by Cheryl Pullar.

The estuaries of the Catlins are rich in bird life. Wading birds commonly seen are kaki (stilt), torea (oystercatcher – 2 species), herons (2 species), tuturiwhatu (dotterel), plovers, kuaka (godwit) as well as gulls, tara (tern – 2 species), at least 3 species of duck, and kotare (kingfisher).

Other sea birds to look out for include shags, sooty shearwaters and crested spoonbills.


Little Blue Penguin

Little blue penguins are found all along the Catlins coast where they nest in caves and burrows. These birds, the smallest of the world’s penguins, fish during the day close to the shore and can sometimes be seen from headlands. Little blue penguins come ashore after dark and go out before dawn so are difficult to see on land. They are the same species as the fairy penguin that is found in Australia.

For more bird watching go to the Photo Gallery.

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