Native wildlife facts

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Quickly find facts on New Zealand’s unique native birds and wildlife.

Native taonga of New Zealand

New Zealand is an internationally recognised ‘hotspot’ for biodiversity. Our long isolation from other land masses, as well as our diverse ecosystems, have allowed very special flora and fauna to develop. Today, a large number of New Zealand’s native species are classified as threatened, meaning they’re at risk of becoming extinct in the near future. For millions of years, species like kiwi and kākāpo evolved with no threat from mammalian predators such as rats, mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels) and possums. When these predators were introduced, our native species were particularly vulnerable to them.

Find our more on our page Native taonga of New Zealand including:

  • Why are New Zealand’s native species so precious?
  • Why do some species become extinct?
  • Which species are endangered?
  • Why undertake predator control

Learn more

  • NZ Bird Gallery. A great online recourse of New Zealand birds, includes description, taxonomy and YouTube links.
  • NZ Birds Online. A digital encyclopaedia of New Zealand birds, includes great photos and bird song.
  • Conservation Status of New Zealand Birds. The second complete audit of the conservation status of our birds presented in 2016 classifies 59 of our birds extinct. Find out the status of your favourite bird.
Auckland Island merganser
The Auckland Island merganser is now extinct. Image credit: Walter Buller, Supplement to Birds of NZ, 1905.
  • Identifying NZ animals. To expand our knowledge about the impact that introduced mammals have in urban environments, remote cameras have been placed in multiple cities of Aotearoa, New Zealand. They have collected over 100,000 photographs of animals and need help identifying them. Identifications will allow us to estimate the distribution and abundance of introduced mammals in cities like Wellington, Hamilton and Dunedin. Using this information action can be taken to manage urban landscapes to bring back New Zealand’s unique fauna and flora to our parks, streets and gardens.
  • Birds of New Zealand App. An iOS app for bird and bird song identification.
  • Decline of Seven Species. Statistics NZ plot the distribution of native species and the change over time.
  • Bat Map. Distribution of New Zealand bats.