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Bird watching in Mangawhai New Zealand


Mangawhai attracts a wide range of New Zealand bird species, and home to the New Zealand Fairy Tern, New Zealand's rarest endemic bird.   Mangawhai lodge is an ideal destination for bird watching in New Zealand   We cater for individuals, couples or birding groups- please contact us for prices.

The Bird Refuge, estuarine harbour, mudflats, shoreline and sandspit of Mangawhai provide a rich source of food for several shorebirds and is the home of seven threatened and four "at risk" shorebirds species.  Mangawhai is the most important breeding site for the NZ Fairy Tern and NZ Northern Dotterel. (Dr John Dowding - renowned bird researcher). 

Stay at Mangawhai lodge to see a wide range of New Zealand bird life, both bush and shorebird species.  A wide range of birds breed and inhabit the Mangawhai Coast with several other breeding sites within 1-2 hours drive enabling birders to view a wide range of rare bird species.

The Caspian Tern, The Northern New Zealand Dotterel, Banded Dotterel, Variable Oystercatcher, South Island Oyster Catcher are common to the Mangawhai area, most breed in the early summer months.

Turnstones and Godwits migrate from Alaska and Siberia arriving late September and leave in late March and early April.   A Black Shag colony breed and live in a tree at the far end of the famous Mangawhai Cliff Top Walkway.

Birds commonly seen around Mangawhai Lodge include:

The Tui - a nectar feeding bird often perches on the top branch of the Norfolk Pine waiting to have their photo taken, along with the Kingfisher, Silver eye and Fantails these are some of my favorite native birds which visit Mangawhai Lodge on a regular basis.

The New Zealand Fairy Tern

Visit below clip to view birds.  The Fairy Terns start nesting in early November. The Fairy Terns can still be seen feeding around the harbour in February.

This Fairy Tern nests in 3 areas North of Auckland.  Mangawhai has the largest Fairy Terns poppulation.

The New Zealand Fairy Tern is the most endangered birds in New Zealand.

Fairy Tern can live for up to 16 years, they starts breeding from 2-3 years of age.  They differ from the New Caladonian and Australian Fairy Terns in that they breed in solo pairs, not in colonies.   Introduced predators, easterly storm,s including cyclones and disturbances during the breeding season by beach users have all impacted on the birds ability to breed successfully.

In the early 1980's  the number of New Zealand Fairy Terns (Taraiti) dropped to 3 breeding pairs.  Through monitoring and capture of predators by the Dept of Conservation staff and volunteers the numbers have increased to about 40 birds.  The New Zealand Fairy Tern Charitable Trust was formed to help the Fairy Tern survive and prosper.  Please contact us and we are happy to put you in touch with the trust to support the Fairy Tern.