Birds in New Zealand

Before there were humans in New Zealand, there were animals and loud ones at that! There were initially a lot of birds, but wings became unnecessary for some, as they did not have predators that they needed to fly away from. The kakapo parrot, the takahe and the moa (which is now extinct) are all examples of flightless birds. The Maori and Europeans brought with them predators to these birds, such as rats and other animals. These predators, combined with the lessening and loss of habitat, led to a number of these birds becoming extinct, or, at the very least, lessened in number.

New Zealand’s national symbol is actually one of these flightless birds. It has nostrils on the end of the beak and is called the kiwi. The kiwi is endangered, and hard to find in nature. Many kiwi houses exist at zoos, parks and preservation locations, to prevent them from becoming extinct. These birds require experts to handle them, as they can be extremely dangerous and territorial; if you do happen to see a kiwi in the wild, do not approach it.

Other birds native to New Zealand include:

  • The kea is one of the most intelligent birds in the entire world. These birds are known to be playful, sometimes to the point that they can be a nuisance to humans. For example, they will attack houses or cars, just to steal some rubber
  • The weka is actually cute as far as birds go. It is also a flightless bird and is known to take, and hoard, shiny objects
  • The takahe is known for its indigo feathers that contrast with its red beak
  • The tui has a natural collar and has a song that could make you melt
  • The morepork owl got its name from its call, that is heard most often after the sun goes down