New Zealand Birding Tours
New Zealand has been isolated geographically for 70 million years, in which time it has developed a totally insular community of flora and fauna.
Scientifically a land of exciting contrasts and extremes, with unique natural history to match. We are fortunate to still have the opportunity to observe many native species in pristine natural habitats.
LUNCH STOP : FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK
New Zealand has 3 endemic bird families and at least 50 endemic species on the main islands. We also have one of the finest collections of pelagic species on earth. The Kiwi is a well-known product of our unique environment and is just one example we hope to encounter.
Birding in New Zealand is special not just because of the unique birds but also for the breathtaking and ever changing scenery. We offer guiding to the best bird watching locations in New Zealand, for a day or two or a comprehensive tour of the country and its unique bird life. Our tours are designed to find as many species as possible including most of our endemics. New Zealand has 3 unique families, the well-known kiwi (Apterygidae), the wattlebirds (Callaeidae) and the New Zealand wrens (Acanthisittidae). The experience we have gained leading birding tours over the last eleven years helps us locate many of our rare and elusive species.
17 Day New Zealand Tour
During this seventeen day exploration we will visit all three main islands plus some of the smaller islands devoted to the conservation of New Zealand’s endemic and endangered birds. Our birding will begin with a close-up look into the fascinating nesting cycle of the Australasian Gannet (Takapu). An important stop on our trip is Tiri Tiri Matangi Island, where visitors are welcomed to explore the avifauna of this successful attempt at restoring endangered species. Here we will see the Takahe, a large six pound Rail, the Saddleback (Tieke), one of New Zealand’s two remaining wattlebirds and the Stitchbird (Hihi), a rare endemic honeyeater.
YELLOW EYED PENGUIN
Our shorebirding will take place in two locations in the North Island, the first being Miranda, a well known ‘wintering’ spot for many northern hemisphere breeding birds such as Terek Sandpiper, Red-Necked Stint and Bar-Tailed Godwit. Amongst the many shorebirds present are New Zealand endemics such as New Zealand Dotterel and the Wrybill with its distinctively shaped bill. Manawatu Estuary will be our last stop in the North Island to search out any shorebirds we may have missed at previous locations, before departing for the South Island on the Interisland Ferry. This is an excellent opportunity to find pelagics such as Fairy Prion, Cape Petrel and Buller’s Albatross. Upon arriving in the Marlborough Sounds we will visit a colony of the rare and endangered King Shag and stop off at another island dedicated to conservation to view the South Island Robin and the South Island Saddleback.
MT COOK WALK
Kaikoura provides an exciting pelagic opportunity with up close looks at Albatrosses, Giant Petrels, Shearwaters and Petrels including both natives and endemics such as Buller’s Shearwater and Westland Petrel. The Southern Alps mountain range of the South Island provides opportunities to see the New Zealand Falcon, endemic Black-Billed Gull and Black-Fronted Tern. In the lower elevation Beech Forests we will look for the Kaka, a forest parrot and the rare endemic passerine, the Yellowhead. Upon reaching higher elevations our search will center upon the mischievous Kea, a true mountain parrot, and the beautiful but elusive Rockwren. Our final island, Stewart Island, is a short flight away and home to the brazen Weka, (a flightless Rail), Shining Cuckoo, (a breeding migrant), and our goal bird, the nocturnal Brown Kiwi. An exciting destination for this tour of these remarkable islands is Dunedin, a very Scottish settlement, where we visit nesting Northern Royal Albatross, Stewart Island Shags and a colony of endemic Yellow-Eyed Penguins, one of the three penguin species we normally encounter on this tour. Our tour ends in Christchurch.
Chatham Islands Tour
The Chatham Islands are a very special part of New Zealand as well as being the first place in the world to see the sunrise. These wild and sparsely populated islands became known worldwide, in birding and conservation circles, for the dramatic rediscoveries of the Chatham Robin and Magenta Petrel. The recovery programs on these islands have successfully brought eight species back from the brink of extinction. In all, the islands are home to 21 endemic, near endemic or subspecies.
MANGERE AND LITTLE MANGERE FROM PITT ISLAND
Our 3-day tours are designed to give us a chance of seeing as many of the islands special birds as possible. An all day pelagic trip takes us close to island reserves, home to the rare Shore Plover, Chatham Oystercatcher, and Shy Albatross plus a wealth of other seabirds in the open ocean. If sea conditions allow we may have a chance to look for Chatham Islands Snipe on a remote island. Days in the Chatham Island and Pitt Island forests should give us encounters with endemic land birds including Chatham Gerygone and Parea (Chatham Island Pigeon) while the rocky shoreline hosts the Chatham Islands Shag and Pitt Island Shag.
For a full itineraries and prices please contact us at ManuTours@nzbirding.co.nz