This is a companion to my Bird of the Day blog, which focuses on birds I have seen in Victoria, Canada.

When my husband and I started planning a trip to New Zealand, I was delighted to read about the large number of unique birds that reside there. Having exhausted the supply of new birds at home, this was a welcome opportunity to continue my birding education. This blog will cover the various birding sites on the North and South Islands and (hopefully) the multitude of birds we encounter there.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


This morning, we woke up bright and early after spending yesterday recuperating from our 19 hour journey from Victoria to New Zealand. We decided to take a ferry to Rangitoto, one of the small islands off Auckland. Rangatoto is a volcanic island. In fact, it is the most recently active of the 40 volcanoes in the Auckland area.
The island is covered with black volcanic rock and most people who go there make the trek up to the top of the crater. I, however, am not most people. My husband and I chose to walk along the coast trail to the Black-backed (Dominican) Gull breeding ground. I was surprised to learn that there are only three kinds of gulls found in New Zealand. This certainly makes the identification of gulls much easier than what I've experienced in Victoria. The only confusing part seems to be that the young Red-billed Gulls have black bills and the young Black-billed ones have red bills. !!
Black-backed Gull
In addition to the gulls, I saw Variable Oystercatchers, Fantails, Shags (also known as Cormorants), a White-faced Heron and a New Zealand Kingfisher to name just a few.

Variable Oystercatcher

North Island Fantail

New Zealand Kingfisher


Pied Shag

White-faced Heron

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