Bird watching

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Before man arrived New Zealand was a world of birds and plants. Here you will find some of the world's most unique birdlife.

Birds are still some of our most colorful inhabitants and New Zealand is a bird-watchers', or twitchers', paradise.

Our most famous bird is of course our national emblem, the kiwi. About the size of a domestic hen, it has an extremely long beak and plumage that is more like hair than feathers. Though endangered, the nocturnal kiwi can still be seen in the wild in Northland and on Stewart Island. You can also see kiwi birds at wildlife enclosures throughout the country.

Wander into one of our native forests and you'll hear it ringing with birdsong. The warbling tui, the flittering piwakawaka (fantail) and the large and lumbering kereru (native wood pigeon) are ones to look out for.

There are more than 80 types of seabird that breed along our shore, some that migrate thousands of miles from the other side of the world. At the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head you can see the only mainland breeding colony of royal albatross in the world. A little further south at Nugget Point in Southland, you can see the hoiho (little yellow-eyed penguin) and tītī (sooty shearwater).

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