New Zealand Birds

During New Zealands time of isolation, birds have continued to arrive and develop in without large predators, making them vulnerable to recent arrivals. The predators that have really been widely destructive were the mustelids, cats and European rat species. The most important impact of pre-Europeans was the widespread burning used in moa-hunting especially in the drier areas of the South Island.

We have the worlds largest (and probably only flightless) parrot (kakapo), the only truly alpine parrot (kea), the oldest reptile (tuatara), the biggest earthworms, the heaviest insect (also the largest weta), the smallest bats, some of the oldest trees, and many of the rarest birds, insects, and plants in the world....

Far too many species of bird have become extinct since humans arrived on NZ including the various species of Dinornis (moa) the largest of which stood up to 2.5 metres high. While the rare takahe (Notornis australis) can be seen in semi-wild conditions at Te Anau, the Kakapo is too endangered to be on display anywhere.

Stewart Island Brown Kiwi

To find out more about the New Zealand Kiwi click there.

For the Maori legend of how the Kiwi lost its wings click there.

Yellow Eyed Penguin

For more information on the yellow eyed penguin

Click here to enter a competition to win a free Kiwi.

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