Kiwi. Image credit: Crystal Brindle/DOC
Kiwi. Image credit: Crystal Brindle/DOC

Unique Birds of New Zealand

In Aotearoa (New Zealand) we are proud to be the home of some of the world’s most curious birds. From furry and flightless to cheeky and clever, here are some of our favourite birds.

Ruru / Morepork

New Zealand’s only native owl is known for its haunting lullaby, listen out for its distinctive “more-pork” call during the night. This small brown speckled owl with bright yellow eyes dwells in forests and sleeps during the day making it a hard one to spot!

Home is: Forests throughout mainland New Zealand.

Likes to eat: Beetles, weta, moths, spiders, small birds, rats and mice.

Why it is unique: Its head turns almost in a complete circle!



A national icon, the kiwi is celebrated by all cultures in New Zealand. A unique and curious bird, the kiwi cannot fly, has hair-like feathers and has a very long beak. They are a nocturnal species that feed on the ground at night, using its beak to help sniff out food.

Home is: Some of the different ecosystems kiwi live in include scrub, forests, woodlands and bushy grasslands.

Likes to eat: Fruits, berries, worms, insects, frogs, spiders and more.

Why it is unique: Almost everything about them! How these flightless birds arrived in New Zealand is not completely clear.



The world’s only alpine parrot and one of the most intelligent birds. Spotted being able to turn on a water tap at Aspiring Hut campground; this cheeky species is not to be underestimated!

Home is: In the South Island, most commonly in alpine and forested environments.

Likes to eat: A wide range of plant and animal food including nectar, roots, bugs, larvae, and can be found scavenging deer and sheep carcasses.

Why it is unique: These intelligent birds have impressive skills, they have been spotted learning how to get into doors, windows and peoples packs to try steal food.