Native Birds at Staglands Wildlife Reserve


Staglands Wildlife Reserve houses a large variety of New Zealand native birds. Each bird in our farm park is unique and very special to New Zealand. The native birds are at the heart of our conservation efforts and the main reason behind the opening of our park.

What are some of the Native Birds will I see at Staglands?

Further details about the New Zealand Native Birds you will find at Staglands…

Blue Duck 
Hymernolaimus Malacorhynchos (Whio)
 

The Blue Duck, found at Staglands Wildlife Reserve, is classified as a nationally endangered species, with current populations declining, and unless the causes for its decline are remedied, the species faces the risk of becoming extinct. 

Interesting Blue Duck Fact! 
The Blue Duck is one of only three species amongst the world’s other 159 waterfowl that live year round on fast-flowing rivers, such as the one at Staglands. The other species are found in South America and New Guinea. 

Habitat and Distribution: 
A threatened species, the Blue Duck inhabits the turbulent fast flowing high-country rivers of the North Island and nests in hollow logs, small caves and other sheltered spots, like those found in our wildlife park. Recent introductions of the species have been made to some rivers of Mt Taranaki. The Blue Duck is exclusively native to New Zealand – or “endemic” and has no close relatives anywhere in the world! We are lucky to have them here in Wellington.

Characteristics: 
The Blue Duck is the only duck species likely to be seen on turbulent high-country rivers. Its upper bill has a thick fleshy ‘lip’ allowing them to scrape off insect larvae that cling to rocks. Because of their slate-gray colour, the Blue Duck is very well camouflaged around river rocks. Blue Ducks have unique features such as a streamlined head and large webbed feet to enable them to easily manoeuvre and feed in fast moving rapids. 

Voice: 
The Maori name for the Blue Duck is “Whio”, which is a rendition of the males' call. The male makes a distinctive high-pitched “whio” whistling sound – contrasting with the low rasping growl of the female. A great family activity is to see who can make the best “whio” call! 

Food: 
The Blue Duck uses its special bill to get at insects and grubs taken from the water’s surface or around rocks. The Caddis-fly larvae are a favourite food for the Blue Duck. 

Breeding: 
Blue Ducks nest from August to December. Their nest is constructed of sticks and grasses usually hidden under rocks, in caves, under logs or in thick riverside vegetation. A clutch of 4 - 8 cream coloured eggs are incubated by the female only, for 32 days. Chicks can fly when they are 10 weeks old.

Nature connections Video:
Watch video to find out more about the whio at Staglands.
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Kea
Nestor Notabilis 

Mischievous and cheeky, these highly social “mountain parrots” have a tendency to create havoc by being very destructive to human belongings such as cars! But don’t worry our Staglands car park is perfectly safe! 

Interesting Kea Fact! 
These fascinating birds have been dubbed the 'clown of New Zealand's Southern Alps'. The Keas long beak is a valuable tool in its search for food especially in crevices in between rocks and boulders and for prizing off the lids of rubbish bins! 

Habitat and Distribution: 
The Kea is a protected species and inhabits the South Island’s alpine forests and mountains. They are not typically found in Wellington, but are very happy in their habitat at Staglands. 

Characteristics: 
The Kea has olive green plumage and a large and very strong hooked beak distinguishing it from its close relative, the South Island Kaka. Beautiful orange feathers can be seen under its wings when in flight. The Kea is essentially a ground bird often entertaining any humans present with their sideways hopping. But when airborne, they are magnificent fliers. 

Voice: 
The Kea’s call is high pitched with a rather raucous 'kee-aa' call, especially when flying. They also have a variety of softer murmuring calls. 

Food: 
Keas have a varied and adaptable diet, reflecting the changeable conditions of their habitat. Mostly vegetarian, Kea love to eat; seeds, buds, foliage, fruits, nectar and also likes the occasional insect or grub. In harder times of winter Kea are also known to feed on carrion and can attack sickly sheep. 

Breeding: 
Unlike other parrots, the Kea builds a nest made of sticks, grasses, moss and lichens, usually under rock, just above the bush line or in a forest clearing. A clutch of two or three white eggs is laid from August to January and males feed their mate whilst she incubates the eggs which may take up to four weeks. Males sometimes mate with two or more females. 
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North Island Kaka
Nestor Meridionalis Septentrionalis 

Like its close cousin the Kea, the Kaka is an ancient species and a cheeky endemic bird to New Zealand. Declining numbers mean that these birds are classified as threatened and are listed as a nationally endangered species. 

Interesting Kaka Fact! 
Maori named this playful bird after its raucous screech. The Kaka lives for about 23 years, is not territorial and has the biggest vocabulary of the parrot world! Have a chat to our Kaka at Staglands and see if you get a reply! 

Habitat and Distribution: 
The North Island Kaka inhabits large tracts of lowland forest in the North Island and forested offshore islands, but is a threatened species on the mainland. You wouldn’t expect to see them on your typical Wellington bush walk! 

Characteristics: 
The North Island Kaka ranges from grey to an olive, reddish brown and in flight shows rounded wings with scarlet and orange underneath and often calls when flying at night. Its powerful hooked beak is used for tearing at bark and as a third leg when hopping and climbing. Their brush-tipped tongue helps to get at sap and nectar and plays an important role in the forest by pollinating flowers. 

Voice: 
The North Island Kaka has a harsh grating call when disturbed or flying. The bird otherwise uses soft melodious whistles and warbles and soft low whistles and chuckles when nesting. 

Food: 
This amazing bird enjoys a wide range of foliage, shoots, fruits, nectar, insects and their larvae. They use their strong beak used to rip bark and wood from dead trees in search of grubs. 

Breeding: 
The North Island Kaka likes to nest in a cavity of a mature or dead tree. A clutch of two to four white eggs are laid on powdered wood from October to January and incubated by the female, who is fed every 1.5 hours by the male. The incubation period is 24-26 days and the chicks are flightless for two or three days and fledge when 10 weeks old. 
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Brown Teal 
Anas Chlorotis (Pateke) 

The Brown Teal or Pateke, is a small dabbling duck species endemic to New Zealand and classified as nationally endangered due primarily to the impact of introduced predators. There are currently between 2000 – 2500 Brown Teal living in the wild in New Zealand, making it the rarest waterfowl species on the mainland. 

Interesting Brown Teal Fact! 
Brown Teal could be described as crepuscular or nocturnal as they spend most of the day in the shade and become more active during twilight hours and at night.  This behaviour may be precautionary because in predator free areas such as Staglands,they are active throughout the day.  

Habitat and Distribution:
In pre-human times, they may have been the most widespread and numerous of New Zealand’s waterfowl. However Brown Teal are now mostly restricted to the northern North Island  Their present day habitat lies mostly in agricultural environments wherein the birds use occluded stock ponds as breeding and feeding sites and also margins of small streams that retain overhanging marginal vegetation. 

Characteristics:
As the name suggests, the Brown Teal’s plumage is brown. However they can are easily distinguished from other brown-looking ducks by the narrow white ring around its eyes. Outside the breeding period, when males and females can be identified by their distinctive breeding plumage, they look very alike.
  
Voice:
Male calls are soft, usually described as trills or piping, given in alarm and in territorial defence. The female has a rasping growl and a high-pitched and rapid quack.

Food:
Brown Teal diet is diverse.  They feed  on invertebrates including aquatic insects larvae and even small shrimp.  In inter-tidal areas Teal dabble in soft sediments in search of food. They also extract flesh from cockles and small mussels. On freshwater ponds they have been observed eating the leaves of various wetland plants.

Breeding:
Brown Teal are monogamous and generally fiercely territorial. Most nesting occurs in late winter (July-September). Typically nests are buried in dry locations deep within bases of rush, grass or fern clumps near water. Large pale fawn eggs are generally laid daily. The average clutch is 5 or 6  and the incubation period is about 28 days. Both parents guard the ducklings until they fledge at  50-55 days old. The mature ducklings are then forcefully evicted from the territory on or about the time the parents start their post-breeding moult.

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