Look for the rare mohua in The Catlins

Mohua are one of New Zealand's rarest birds. Find out about this bird and where to find it in the southern-most beech forests of The Catlins.

Where mohua are found

Mohua are one of New Zealand’s rarest birds now found only in the southern South Island in a few large beech forest areas. Even here their continued existence is increasingly dependent on predator management programmes. The Catlins has the southern-most beech forest in New Zealand and a conservation programme there has ensured that this is one of the best and most accessible locations to look for mohua.

What mohua look and sound like

These small birds are also called yellowheads because of the bright golden colour of their upper bodies They were in the past also known as bush canaries because of the silvery chatter of their busy feeding flocks moving through the forest. Their lively calls can still be heard along the Catlins River Track, near Tawanui in the Catlins.  This track, along the quiet pools and cascades of the river and through tall mossy beech forest, offers the chance to see mohua, as well as other rare birds such as titipounamu (rifleman), and karearea (falcon).

How to see mohua in The Catlins

The Catlins River Track requires moderate fitness and robust footwear to walk the full 12 kilometre length, however part walks can be very rewarding. The easiest access to the walk is from the southern Tawanui end but it will be several kilometres before mohua can be found. The northern more remote end of the track at The Wisp offers an earlier chance to see mohua. There are also access points to good mohua habitats at Frank’s and Wallis streams. These last accesses are via rough forestry roads and local information is advised for using them.

Information about The Catlins and places to stay

Look at a video about The Catlins and find more information about visiting the Catlins on the community website. There are places to stay near the mohua habitat in The Catlins at Mohua Park and the Department of Conservation Tawanui camping ground.

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