Endemic Animals of New Zealand








Yellow-Eyed Penguin
Yellow-Eyed Penguin
The species is easily identified by the distinctive pale yellow stripe on the back of its head and around its yellow eyes. The Yellow-eyed penguin is tall and heavy with a long and slender beak. Generally, males and females look similar, though females are somewhat smaller than males. The forecrown, chin and cheeks of the animal are black, covered with yellow markings. The sides of their head and the foreneck are colored with fawn-brown. The ...
tail along with the back is state blue. Dorsal parts of their feet are pink and the ventral parts are black-brown in color. The beak of the Yellow-eyed penguin is red brown and pale cream. The front thighs, the underside of the flippers, chest and belly are colored with white. Young penguins do not have the pale yellow stripe, found in adults. In addition, the eyes and napes of juveniles are paler than these of adults.
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Yellow-Eyed Penguin
Erect-Crested Penguin
Erect-Crested Penguin
The Erect-crested penguin is a medium to large bird. Female penguins are usually smaller than males. The birds have long, slender bill, colored with brown-orange. The head, upper throat and cheeks of adult erected-crest penguins are dark black. The under parts of the bird are white in color. The upper parts, the body and tail of the penguin are colored with blue-black. They have a wide, yellow colored band, starting near the face over each eye, ...
and composing an erect crest. The plumage on the flippers is white ventrally with a black colored spot at the tip, and blue-black dorsally, fringed with white. Compared to adult penguins, juveniles are colored a bit different, and the crest on their head is shorter than that of adults. The upper parts of the chicks are gray-brown, and the under parts are white.
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Erect-Crested Penguin
Fiordland Penguin
Fiordland Penguin
The Fiordland penguin is a medium-sized penguin with a wide, yellow band on its eyebrow, which starts at each nostril, stretching above the eyes down the neck, and forming a crest. The orange beak is relatively large, bordered with a thin line of black skin at its base. Meanwhile, beaks of males are noticeably larger than these of females. Their under parts are silky white while the upper parts are blue-grey/black, being darker on the head. By ...
the time of their annual molt, the upper parts usually become brown. When the bird is nervous, 3-6 whitish streaks appear on its cheeks. The Fiordland penguin has brownish red eyes. The upper parts of feet and legs are pinkish-white, while the soles and back parts of the limbs are blackish-brown. Juveniles are identified by short, thin bands on their eyebrows, colored with pale yellow. In addition, the chin and throat of juveniles are whitish and speckled. After fledging, the chicks have bluish dorsal plumage, which wears out, eventually fading to black, and turning to mid-brown by their first molt.
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Fiordland Penguin
Blue Duck
Blue Duck
The Blue duck is a native of New Zealand, where its Maori name is “whio”. It is the only member of the family Hymenolaimus. It inhabits fast-flowing inland streams, nesting along the riverbanks, where predation is a threat. It is a powerful swimmer and generally reluctant to fly. The Blue duck has dusky blue-grey plumage and chestnut markings on the chest. This species is rare and is listed as endangered.
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Blue Duck
Tui
Tui
The Tui is a large forest bird native to New Zealand. At first glance the bird appears completely black except for a small tuft of white feathers at its neck and a small white wing patch, causing it to resemble a parson in clerical attire. On closer inspection it can be seen that tui have brown feathers on the back and flanks, a multicolored iridescent sheen that varies with the angle from which the light strikes them; there is also a dusting of ...
small, white-shafted feathers on the back and sides of the neck that produce a lacy collar.
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Tui
Great Spotted Kiwi
Great Spotted Kiwi
The Great spotted kiwi is a flightless bird native to New Zealand. It is the largest of the kiwis. The eyes of this bird are small and do not see well, as it relies mostly on its sense of smell. The legs are short, with three toes per foot. It has a plumage composed of soft, hair-like feathers, which have no aftershafts. The plumage can range from charcoal grey to light brown. The Great spotted kiwi has large whiskers around the gape, and it has ...
no tail, only a small pygostyle. The common name of this bird comes from black spots on its feathers.
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Great Spotted Kiwi
Little Spotted Kiwi
Little Spotted Kiwi
The Little spotted kiwi is a small flightless bird native to New Zealand. Its feathers are pale-mottled grey, with fine white mottling, and are shaggy looking. The bird has large vibrissae feathers around the gape and lacks a tail; instead, it has a small pygostyle. The bill of the Little spotted kiwi is ivory and long and its legs are pale.
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Little Spotted Kiwi
Northern Brown Kiwi
Northern Brown Kiwi
The Northern brown kiwi is a flightless nocturnal bird that can found only in New Zealand. Its plumage is streaky red-brown and spiky. It has a long and curved bill with the nostrils located near the tip. This unique adaptation helps the kiwi during foraging because it locates its prey by smell rather than by sight.
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Northern Brown Kiwi
Okarito Kiwi
Okarito Kiwi
Okarito kiwi are flightless birds from New Zealand. They are greyish in color, often with white patches around the face. These birds are adapted to live on the ground and have powerful legs and long curved bills. Nostrils located on the tip of the bill provide kiwi with an acute sense of smell; this helps the birds to find food as they have very poor eyesight.
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Okarito Kiwi
Southern Brown Kiwi
Southern Brown Kiwi
The Southern brown kiwi is a shy flightless bird that is only found in New Zealand. It has no preen gland, and it has no tail. There are large vibrissae around its gape, and its bill is long and slender with a slight down-curve. The color of its plumage is rufous with some streaking.
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Southern Brown Kiwi
Kakapo
Kakapo
The Kakapo is a critically endangered large flightless parrot that is endemic to New Zealand. It has finely blotched yellow-green plumage, a distinct facial disc, a large grey beak, short legs, large feet, and relatively short wings and tail. A combination of traits make it unique among its kind; it is the world's only flightless parrot, the heaviest parrot, nocturnal, and is the only parrot to have a polygynous lek breeding system with no male ...
parental care. It is also possibly one of the world's longest-living birds.
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Kakapo
Kea
Kea
The Kea is a large parrot found in the forested and alpine regions of New Zealand. It is mostly olive-green in color with a brilliant orange under its wings and has a large, narrow, curved, grey-brown upper beak. The kea is the world's only alpine parrot. Now uncommon, this mountain-dwelling bird was once killed for bounty due to concerns by the sheep-farming community that it attacked livestock, especially sheep. In 1986, it received full ...
protection under the Wildlife Act.
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Kea
Morepork
Morepork
The Morepork also called the Ruru is a small brown forest-dwelling owl. Its name is derived from its two-tone call. The bird has generally dark brown head and upperparts, with pale brown spots on head and neck and white markings on the rest of the upperparts, with a pale yellow-white supercilium (eyebrow), dark brown ear coverts, and buff cheeks. The feathers of the chin and throat are buff with dark brown shafts. The feathers of the underparts ...
are mostly dark brown with buff and white spots and streaks, with the larger markings on the belly making it look paler overall. The upper tail is dark brown with lighter brown bars. The feet of morepork are orange or yellow in color with blackish claws.
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Morepork
Black Stilt
Black Stilt
The Black stilt is a medium-sized wading bird found in New Zealand. It is one of the world's rarest birds that is threatened by introduced feral cats, ferrets, and hedgehogs as well as habitat degradation from hydroelectric dams, agriculture, and invasive weeds. The Black stilt has extremely long pink legs, red eyes, distinctively black plumage, and a long slender black bill. Juveniles have a white breast, neck, and head, with a black patch ...
around the eyes, and black belly feathers. Black adult plumage appears in their first or second year.
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Black Stilt
Brown Teal
Brown Teal
The Brown teal is a species of dabbling duck native to New Zealand. Common in the early years of European colonization, the "brown duck" (as it had been often referred to) was heavily harvested as a food source. Its numbers quickly fell, especially in the South Island, and in 1921 they became fully protected. There are no distinctive differences between a male, female, and a juvenile Brown teal during the non-mating season. They all have a white ...
ring around their eyes as well as a mottled brown color on their heads and throat. During the breeding season, the male will begin to change color, now having a green colored head, chestnut-colored breast, and a white stripe on each side of their body. They will sometimes also have a white clerical neckband. This does vary as some males do tend to be more colorful than others.
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Brown Teal
South Island takahē
South Island takahē
The takahē, also known as the South Island takahē or notornis, is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand, and the largest living member of the rail family. It was hunted extensively by Māori, but was not named and described by Europeans until 1847, and then only from fossil bones. In 1850 a living bird was captured, and three more collected in the 19th century. After the final bird was captured in 1898, and no more were to be found, the sp ...
ecies was presumed extinct. Fifty years later, however, after a carefully planned search, takahē were dramatically rediscovered in 1948 by Geoffrey Orbell in an isolated valley in the South Island's Murchison Mountains. The species is now managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, whose Takahē Recovery Programme maintains populations on several offshore islands as well as Takahē Valley. It has now been reintroduced to a second mainland site in Kahurangi National Park. Although takahē are still a threatened species, their NZTCS status was downgraded in 2016 from Nationally Critical to Nationally Vulnerable. The population is 418 and is growing by 10 percent per year.
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South Island takahē
Weka
Weka
The weka is a flightless bird species of the rail family. It is endemic to New Zealand. Four subspecies are recognized but only two are supported by genetic evidence. Weka are sturdy brown birds, about the size of a chicken. As omnivores, they feed mainly on invertebrates and fruit. Weka usually lay eggs between August and January; both sexes help to incubate.
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Weka
New Zealand kaka
New Zealand kaka
The New Zealand kaka is a large species of parrot of the family Nestoridae found in native forests of New Zealand. Two subspecies are recognised. It is endangered and has disappeared from much of its former range, though conservation efforts mean it is now increasingly common across Wellington.
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New Zealand kaka
New Zealand fantail
New Zealand fantail
The New Zealand Fantail is a small insectivorous bird, the only species of fantail in New Zealand. It has four subspecies: R. f. fuliginosa in the South Island, R. f. placabilis in the North Island, R. f. penita in the Chatham Islands, and the now-extinct R. f. cervina formerly on Lord Howe Island. It is also known by its Māori names, pīwakawaka, tīwakawaka or piwaiwaka; the common pied morph is also known as pied fantail, and the uncommon dark mo ...
rph is also known as black fantail . The species has been considered by many to be conspecific as the grey fantail of Australia and New Caledonia; however, due to significant differences in its calls, many authorities now treat it as a separate species.
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New Zealand fantail
Kererū
Kererū
The kererū or New Zealand pigeon is a species of pigeon native to the New Zealand mainland. Described by Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1789, it is a large, conspicuous pigeon with a white breast and green-blue plumage, which is found in a variety of habitats across New Zealand. The kererū feeds mainly on fruits, although it also consumes leaves, buds and flowers. It is the only remaining New Zealand bird capable of swallowing large fruit, making it a ...
n important seed disperser for native trees. Although widespread in both forest and urban habitats, its numbers have declined significantly since European colonisation and the arrival of invasive mammals such as rats, stoats and possums. However, the results of nationwide bird surveys indicate that there has been a significant recovery in the population of kererū in suburban areas. Despite this, as of 2021 the IUCN Red List classifies the species as "Near Threatened", while the Department of Conservation classifies kererū as "Not Threatened" but conservation dependent. Two subspecies have been recognised, although the second—the Norfolk pigeon of Norfolk Island—became extinct in the early 20th century. Considered a taonga to the Māori people, the kererū was historically a major food source in Māori culture. However, due to the previous decline in its population, hunting it is illegal. Customary use of kererū is restricted to the use of feathers and bones obtained from dead birds collected by the Department of Conservation. This issue has received significant public and political attention, as some people argue that bans on kererū hunting are detrimental to Māori traditions. In 2018 the kererū was designated Bird of the Year by the New Zealand Forest & Bird organisation, and in 2019, the exoplanet HD 137388 b was renamed "Kererū" in its honour.
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Kererū
Perna canaliculus
Perna canaliculus
Perna canaliculus, the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, also known as the New Zealand mussel, the greenshell mussel, kuku, and kutai, is a bivalve mollusc in the family Mytilidae . P. canaliculus has economic importance as a cultivated species in New Zealand.
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Perna canaliculus
New Zealand falcon
New Zealand falcon
The New Zealand falcon is New Zealand's only falcon. Other common names for the bird are bush hawk and sparrow hawk. It is frequently mistaken for the larger and more common swamp harrier. It is the country's most threatened bird of prey, with only around 3000–5000 breeding pairs remaining.
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New Zealand falcon
Black robin
Black robin
The black robin or Chatham Island robin is an endangered bird from the Chatham Islands off the east coast of New Zealand. It is closely related to the South Island robin . It was first described by Walter Buller in 1872. The binomial commemorates the New Zealand botanist Henry H. Travers . It is also known as kakaruia or karure . Unlike its mainland counterparts, its flight capacity is somewhat reduced. Evolution in the absence of mammalian ...
predators made it vulnerable to introduced species, such as cats and rats, and it became extinct on the main island of the Chatham group before 1871, being restricted to Little Mangere Island thereafter.
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Black robin
Tomtit
Tomtit
The tomtit is a small passerine bird in the family Petroicidae, the Australasian robins. It is endemic to the islands of New Zealand, ranging across the main islands as well as several of the outlying islands. It has several other Māori and English names. There are several subspecies showing considerable variation in plumage and size. The species is not threatened and has adapted to the changes made to New Zealand's biodiversity.
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Tomtit
Paradise shelduck
Paradise shelduck
The paradise shelduck is a large goose-like duck endemic to New Zealand. It is a shelduck, a group of large goose-like birds which are part of the bird family Anatidae. The genus name Tadorna comes from Celtic roots and means "pied waterfowl". Known to the Māori as pūtangitangi, but now commonly referred to as the "paradise duck", it is a prized game bird. Both the male and female have striking plumage: the male has a black head and barred black b ...
ody, the female a white head with a chestnut body. Paradise shelducks usually live as pairs, grazing on grass and weeds, and will raid crops, particularly when molting.
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Paradise shelduck
Red-billed gull
Red-billed gull
The red-billed gull, also known as tarāpunga and once also known as the mackerel gull, is a native of New Zealand, being found throughout the country and on outlying islands including the Chatham Islands and subantarctic islands. It was formerly considered a separate species but is now usually treated as a subspecies of the silver gull . The Māori name of this species is tarāpunga or akiaki. Its vernacular name is sometimes also used for the do ...
lphin gull, a somewhat similar-looking but unrelated species that is found in coastal southern Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. As is the case with many gulls, the red-billed gull has traditionally been placed in the genus Larus. A national survey of breeding red-billed gulls carried out in 2014–2016 recorded 27,831 pairs nesting in New Zealand. The authors of the study based on the survey and published in 2018 said that the accuracy of previous estimates was questionable, but that the species nevertheless appeared to have declined nationally since the mid-1960s. The study also discussed the possible reasons for the decline and made a proposal for future monitoring.
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Red-billed gull
New Zealand bellbird
New Zealand bellbird
The New Zealand bellbird, also known by its Māori names korimako and makomako, is a passerine bird endemic to New Zealand. It has greenish colouration and is the only living member of the genus Anthornis. The bellbird forms a significant component of the famed New Zealand dawn chorus of bird song that was much noted by early European settlers. The explorer Captain Cook wrote of its song "it seemed to be like small bells most exquisitely tuned". ...
Its bell-like song is sometimes confused with that of the tui. The species is common across much of New Zealand and its offshore islands as well as the Auckland Islands.
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New Zealand bellbird
New Zealand mud snail
New Zealand mud snail
The New Zealand mud snail is a species of very small freshwater snail with a gill and an operculum. This aquatic gastropod mollusk is in the family Tateidae. It is native to New Zealand, where it is found throughout the country, but it has been introduced to many other countries, where it is often considered an invasive species because populations of the snail can reach phenomenal densities.
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New Zealand mud snail
Paphies australis
Paphies australis
Paphies australis or pipi is a bivalve mollusc of the family Mesodesmatidae, endemic to New Zealand.
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Paphies australis
New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat
New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat
The lesser short-tailed bat – pekapeka-tou-poto in Māori – is the only living species of bat in the family Mystacinidae, and is endemic to New Zealand. One of the most terrestrial of bats, it is notable for foraging more on the forest floor than any other bat species. Its population is declining, a result of forest clearance and introduced predators.
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New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat
Stitchbird
Stitchbird
The stitchbird or hihi is a honeyeater-like bird endemic to the North Island and adjacent offshore islands of New Zealand. Its evolutionary relationships have long puzzled ornithologists, but it is now classed as the only member of its own family, the Notiomystidae. It became rare, being extirpated everywhere except Little Barrier Island, but has been reintroduced to two other island sanctuaries and four locations on the North Island ...
mainland. In addition to hihi, the stitchbird is also known by a number of other Māori names, including: tihi, ihi, tihe, kotihe, tiora, tiheora, tioro, kotihe-wera, hihi-paka, hihi-matakiore, mata-kiore, tihe-kiore .
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Stitchbird
Tuatua
Tuatua
Paphies subtriangulata is a species of edible bivalve clam known as tuatua in the Māori language, a member of the family Mesodesmatidae and endemic to New Zealand. It is found on all three of the main New Zealand islands, buried in fine clean sand on ocean beaches.
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Tuatua
Rifleman
Rifleman
The rifleman is a small insectivorous passerine bird that is endemic to New Zealand. It belongs to the family Acanthisittidae, also known as the New Zealand wrens, of which it is one of only two surviving species. The rifleman resembles a wren in form, but is not related to the family of true wrens, Troglodytidae, nor the fairy-wrens of Australia.
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Rifleman
White-flippered penguin
White-flippered penguin
The white-flippered penguin is a small penguin about 30 cm tall and weighing 1.5 kg . It gains its name from the white markings on its flippers, unique to the subspecies. It nests only on Banks Peninsula and Motunau Island, near Christchurch, New Zealand, with only around 3,750 breeding pairs.
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White-flippered penguin
Yellowhead
Yellowhead
The yellowhead or mōhua is a small insectivorous passerine bird endemic to the South Island of New Zealand. Once a common forest bird, its numbers declined drastically after the introduction of rats and stoats, and it is now endangered.
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Yellowhead
Chatham raven
Chatham raven
The Chatham raven is a prehistoric raven formerly native to the Chatham Islands . The closely related New Zealand raven, C. antipodum occurred in the North and South Islands of New Zealand. C. antipodum was formerly included in C. moriorum, and later considered a distinct species, however in 2017 genetic research determined that the two raven populations were subspecies rather than separate species, having only split 130,000 years ago. A ...
reconstruction of the raven is in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, specimen MNZ S.036749.
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Chatham raven
Haliotis iris
Haliotis iris
Haliotis iris, common name paua, blackfoot paua or rainbow abalone, is a species of edible sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Haliotidae, the abalones. Haliotis iris was originally credited to Martyn, 1784 but his work was invalidated in 1957 by the ICZN, opinion 456.
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Haliotis iris
New Zealand raven
New Zealand raven
The New Zealand raven was native to the North Island and South Island of New Zealand but has been extinct since the 16th century. There were two subspecies: the North Island raven and the South Island raven . Another closely related species, the Chatham raven, occurred on the Chatham Islands.
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New Zealand raven
Black-billed gull
Black-billed gull
The black-billed gull, Buller's gull, or tarāpuka is a Near Threatened species of gull in the family Laridae. This gull is found only in New Zealand, its ancestors having arrived from Australia around 250,000 years ago.: 89 
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Black-billed gull
Wrybill
Wrybill
The wrybill or ngutuparore is a species of plover endemic to New Zealand. It is the only species of bird in the world with a beak that is bent sideways in one direction, always to the right . A 2015 study found it to be within the Charadrius clade, with other New Zealand plovers its closest relatives; the nearest being the New Zealand dotterel or New Zealand plover, and then the double-banded plover or banded dotterel . It lays its eggs among ...
the rocks along rivers and distracts intruders by pretending to be in distress and moving away from its clutch. It is rated as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature 's Red List of Threatened Species.
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Wrybill
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