Meet Our Wildlife

We currently hold over 20 native bird and reptile species at the Kiwi Birdlife Park that are either here part of a managed conservation program or brought to us for rehabilitation.

Read about them below!

North Island Brown Kiwi

Apteryx mantelli

Conservation status: Declining

Kiwi are incredibly unique birds, only found in New Zealand. Once found throughout New Zealand, they are now declining rapidly due to introduced predators. Kiwi are nocturnal and are only able to be seen in our kiwi houses. Visit one of our kiwi encounters to get a close-up view of these quirky birds!

All of our kiwi are released into managed and predator-controlled areas in the wild. We currently have 7 kiwi at our facility.

 

South Island Kākā

Nestor meridionalis 

Conservation Status: Recovering 

South Island kākā are forest-dwelling birds that are known for their curiosity and the variety of sounds they make. Often confused with kea, the kākā have an olive-brown coat with scarlet feathers underneath.

Generally heard before they are seen, kākā are large, forest-dwelling parrots that are found on all three main islands of New Zealand and on several offshore islands. Much reduced in range and abundance in the North and South islands due to forest clearance and predation by introduced mammals, kākā are most abundant on offshore islands that have no introduced mammals, or at least no stoats. 

We have a breeding pair here at the park, and all of their offspring will be released in the Abel Tasman area!

 

Whio/Blue Duck

Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos

Conservation status: Nationally vulnerable

The whio an iconic species of clear fast-flowing rivers, now mostly confined to high altitude segments of rivers in North and South Island mountain regions. Named after their high-pitch "whio" sound, they are easily recognizable with their blue/grey coat. Blue ducks are monogamous and fiercely territorial; the territory and pair bond are maintained throughout the year.

All of the offspring of our breeding pair are released into the wild. 

 

Kea

Nestor notabilis

Conservation status: Nationally endangered

The world's only mountain parrot, the Kea. Kea are endemic to the South Island of New Zealand and are closely associated with mountain beech and lowland podocarp forests.

 

Kea are now restricted to the South Island of New Zealand and are scarce across their 3.5 million hectare range. Kea are unusual in that they actively seek out and interact with people and their property. This ‘neophilia’ – love of new things, has brought people into conflict with kea to an extent which is unprecedented with another endemic avian species.

 

Photo: David Rintoul

Kererū/ Wood Pigeon

Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae

Conservation Status: Not threatened

The world's second-largest pigeon. The wood pigeon is a vital part of the New Zealand ecosystem. Being the only native bird left big enough to digest the fruits and berries from the native plants, the wood pigeon is the only animal that still spreads the seeds enabling new plants to grow and spread! Without this large pigeon, the bush would struggle to grow.

 

Pāteke/ Brown Teal

Anas chlorotis

Conservation Status: Recovering

The brown teal is the largest and only flighted member of the three brown-plumaged teals endemic to the New Zealand region. The brown teal was an abundant and widespread species 200 years ago, but became highly endangered due mainly to the impacts of introduced predators. We've contributed to the Brown Teal Recovery Program since 2001 and have released over 100 teal since then.Their conservation status changed back in 2008 from "Nationally Endangered" to "Recovering". A great outcome due to conservation efforts NZ wide.

All of the offspring from our breeding pair are released into predator-controlled areas.

Photo: Malcolm Pullam

 

Photo: Toby Coulter

Ruru/ Morepork

Ninox novaeseelandiae

Conservation status: Not threatened

Moreporks are widely distributed throughout the native and exotic forests of New Zealand. A bird of the bush and the night, it is a powerful and esteemed species in Maori mythology. It is also the only species of owl in New Zealand that inhabits forests. With short rounded wings and ears and eyes adapted for low light and darkness they are a formidable and stealthy predator of our forests.

We have three here at the park, and you're likely to spot one in our conservation show!

Buff Weka

Gallirallus australis

Conservation status: Not threatened

Weka are charismatic birds that are often attracted to human activity. This makes an encounter with a weka a wildlife highlight for many people, as the curious bird searches for any food item that the intruder might bring. But people who live alongside weka often have a less favorable opinion, as they have to live with spying weka snatching opportunities to raid vegetable gardens, ravage poultry food and eggs, and even steal dog food from the bowl. 

Often confused with kiwi in the wild by tourists, they're relatively uncommon on the mainland but have been seen locally on Pigeon Island on Lake Wakatipu.

 
 

Photo: Pukaha Mount Bruce

Antipodes Island Parakeet

Cyanoramphus unicolor

Conservation Status: Naturally uncommon

The Antipodes Island parakeet is an unmistakable, uniformly green parakeet endemic to the subantarctic Antipodes Islands. Antipodes Island parakeets are strong fliers but prefer to walk about and climb over vegetation, especially when feeding.

Leaves dominate its diet, but the species is noted for its habit of scavenging bird carcasses and broken eggs, and for killing and eating grey-backed storm petrels - joining the kea as New Zealand’s second occasionally predatory parrot.

 

Scaup

Aythya novaeseelandiae

Conservation Status: Not threatened

New Zealand scaup are gregarious diving ducks common throughout New Zealand. Compact and blackish, they have the silhouette of a bath-toy duck. They often occur in large flocks, floating with cork-like buoyancy.

Scaup are diving ducks and spend a lot of time underwater, where they can travel considerable distances. Large approachable flocks are a feature of the Queenstown lakeshores.

 

Photo: Toby Coulter

Tuatara

Sphenodon punctatus

Conservation Status: Threatened

Though they may look like lizards, they belong to their own ancient family of reptile called Sphenodontia dating to over 220 million years ago. They are the last survivors of an order of reptiles that thrived in the age of the dinosaurs. Tuatara have one of the slowest growth rates of any reptile, and they keep growing until they are about 35 years old. A tuatara’s average life span is about 60 years but they probably live up to 100 years!

 

Their name derives from the Māori language, and means "peaks on the back". While they were once prevalent in NZ, their low numbers are due to the introduction of predators, mainly rats, as they eat their eggs and young.

We have 11 tuatara at the park; 4 adult, 5 juvenile, and 3 babies. 

 

Tui

Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae

Conservation Status: Not threatened

Tui are a common and widespread bird of rural, forrested, and urban areas. They look black from a distance, but in good light tui have a blue, green and bronze iridescent sheen, and distinctive white throat tufts (poi). They are usually very vocal, with a complicated mix of tuneful notes interspersed with coughs, grunts and wheezes.

Tui diet varies depending on the seasonal availability of nectar and fruits. Their preferred diet is nectar and honeydew, and they will often shift to, or commute daily or more frequently to, good nectar sources. Tui are notoriously aggressive, and will defend a flowering or fruiting tree, or a small part of a large tree, from all-comers, whether another tui or another bird species. 

Image © Cheryl Marriner via NZ Birds Online

 

Otago Skink

Oligosoma otagense

Conservation Status: Nationally endangered

The largest of all skink species. Found in in schist outcrops, bluffs, and tors in shrubland and tussock grassland, Otago skink live in family groups of two adults and up to three generations of young. 

DOC have a specific management plan for the Otago and grand skinks, with the Otago and grand skink recovery team focusing conservation efforts on intensive pest management, predator-proof fences and captive breeding programmes.

We contribute to the captive breeding programme for Otago skink.

 

Campbell Island Teal

Anas nesiotis

Conservation Status: Nationally vulnerable

Campbell Island teal are endemic to Campbell Island. A small population, sourced from captive-raised birds has persisted on Codfish Island, off Stewart Island, since 1999. The Campbell Island teal came very close to extinction, with a tiny remnant population surviving on Dent Island after Norway rats wiped out the main population on Campbell Island. The captive-breeding programme took many years to produce any young, and in the end only one of the three wild females brought into captivity produced offspring. The entire captive-bred population is descended from this one female, and the Campbell Island teals has among the lowest level of genetic variation measured in any wild bird population.

Red-Crowned Kakariki

Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae

Conservation Status: Relict

Formerly common throughout New Zealand, red-crowned parakeets are now largely restricted to pest-free offshore and outlying islands. Red-crowned parakeets occupy a variety of habitats ranging from tall forests to grass and shrub-lands.

Red-crowned parakeets are medium-sized, long-tailed parrots with green plumage and a crimson forehead and fore-crown, and patches of the same colour behind the eyes and on each flank, at the base of the tail.

 

Yellow-Crowned Kakariki

Cyanoramphus auriceps

Conservation Status: Not threatened

The yellow-crowned parakeet is a small and noisy forest-dwelling green parrot with a yellow crown, a narrow scarlet band between the crown and the beak, a red spot on each side of the rump and a blue leading edge to the outer wing. Relatively common on some off-shore islands and some mainland forests, they are still susceptible to predation by stoats, rats and possums, particularly while they are nesting and roosting in holes. 

There have been multiple accounts reporting wild sightings in our park and in the Wakatipu region.

 

Auckland Green Gecko

Naultinus elegans

Conservation status: At risk- declining

A bright green gecko that's diurnal (active during the day) and arboreal (tree dwelling), inhabiting scrubland and forested areas, in particular occupying the foliage of trees and shrubs, including mānuka and kānuka trees. They're able to give birth to live young and can live up to 25 years.

Karearea/ New Zealand Falcon

Falco novaeseelandiae

Conservation status: Recovering

Meet Toa, our rescued kārearea. Toa is NZ's oldest male falcon on record and was brought in to the Kiwi Park after being shot by a farmer. The New Zealand falcon is a small raptor that feeds mainly on live prey. Capable of hunting within the dense New Zealand forests they are also found in more open habitats such as tussock-lands and roughly grazed hill country. Where they nest on the ground they are well known for attacking intruders, including humans, with aggressive dive-bombing strikes to the head.

Toa, sadly was not able to be released into the wild due to his permanently stunted wing. However, we think we've given him a comfortable life as he's now 19 years old!

 
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