Birds Seen in New Zealand

A bench sign on the Pukawa Bush Walk near Turangi.

A bench sign on the Pukawa Bush Walk near Turangi.

Yesterday we went for a short hike, the Pukawa Bush Walk, and were serenaded by dozens of birds. I’ve never heard so many birds at once and the variety of bird calls was very surprising.  Most of the birds were difficult to see, so I couldn’t identify which birds made what sound. Being difficult to see, made the birds impossible to photograph, but I have a few pictures taken throughout my travels here.

The orchestra of birds I experienced yesterday inspired me to share the few bird pictures I’ve managed to capture while in New Zealand. I am sorry that I cannot identify all of the birds. I did my best to research them, but I’m not an expert or even an avid bird watcher. If you have any information regarding these New Zealand birds, all located on the North Island, please post a comment below.

Morepork Owl or Ruru in Maori

Morepork Owl or Ruru in Maori with Orange Glowing Eyes




Ruru, Brown Spotted Owl Native to New Zealand

Ruru, Brown Spotted Owl Native to New Zealand

We were hiking toward Waitonga Falls on the Blyth Track when we saw this brown spotted owl, a morepork, staring at us from a nearby tree. I was amazed at how the owl didn’t seem the least bit frightened by three humans a mere 5 feet away from him. He glared at us as if we had just snatched a meal from his beak. It was around 6 in the evening so perhaps we had foiled his dinner plans by scarring away some pray. The owl, called Ruru by the Maori peoople, eats large beetles, caterpillars and other insects, but it is also known to eat small birds and other small mammals that have been introduced to New Zealand.

Lucky for us we didn’t hear the Ruru’s cry, which is said to be a horrific screech. The Maori people believed hearing its cry meant a death of a loved one, but the mere presence is harmless. The Ruru was even said to be a guardian and its glowing eyes, pictured above, are often depicted outside of Maori meeting places.

Greenfinch on my patio

Greenfinch on my patio



This poor little buy flew into my window and sat stunned on the porch for a few minutes before recovering and flying off. I’m not sure if it is a greenfinch, but I couldn’t find another bird which it might be. I was relieved when it flew away because it seemed to hit the window very hard and I was afraid it might die. Since then I’ve been leaving a little bird seed far away from the window, but it is only attracting little brown house sparrows.

Grey Duck, New Zealand

Grey Duck, New Zealand

Grey Duck, also called Parera by Maori people

Grey Duck, also called Parera by Maori people

We’ve seen grey ducks like this one in several lakes in central New Zealand. The Parera are easily recognized by the blue feather toward their backside. The blue feather is a little iridescent; it changes color from blue to green and even purple in certain lighting.

Kereru in Maori, the New Zealand pigeon

Kereru in Maori, the New Zealand pigeon

These fat pigeons can be seen all throughout the bush and forest of central New Zealand. At first I couldn’t believe it was a pigeon, as it is twice the size of the pigeons back home.  I read that the Maori people call it the Kereru or Kuku which sounds like the gentle cooing sounds I’ve heard this bird make.

Maybe a rifleman or grey warbler

Maybe a rifleman or grey warbler

Riroriro, the grey warbler, or rifleman

Riroriro, the grey warbler, or rifleman

This small gray bird actually stopped for a few pictures and it joined us on the trail several times. This was the only bird we were able to take a picture of on the singing bird trail. I think we saw the same type on a trail in the Tongoriro National Park. It was always near the ground, hopping along the bush or even on the ground. I’m not really sure what it is; I think it might be a grey warbler or a rifleman.

Pied Stilt or Poaka in the Maori language

Pied Stilt or Poaka in the Maori language

We saw the pied stilt at the Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland. I was a little surprised to see anything in the steaming, foul-smelling water, but apparently these guys are quite at home in the thermal waters.

Well, even though we’ve seen dozens of Australian Magpies and the flirtatious Fantail bird we have been able to snap a picture of either. Hope you enjoy the photos.

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