Tag Archives: New Zealand

Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris)

Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris)

New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Extinct

Huia were unique birds; sexually dimorphic due to the different bill shape and known to hunt cooperatively close to the forest floor in search of invertebrates and fruit.

Rats, cats, stoats and ferrets are attributed as the primary cause of this extinction, and would have found huia easy prey as it was often referred to as “ecologically naive”. Like so many endemic species in NZ, it had no evolutionary experience in co-existing with mammals and was not distressed by their presence. Genetic studies indicate a population of somewhere between 34,000 to 89,000 birds existed historically (in the North Island only) and a deadly cocktail or these predators and human hunting witnessed the loss of this entire population in a relatively short time.



Extinct birds of New Zealand. Alan Tennyson. Tepapa Press 2006

Male and female Huia. Image 2006-0010-1/11 from the series ‘Extinct birds of New Zealand’. Masterton. Image © Purchased 2006. © Te Papa by Paul Martinson See Te Papa website: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/objectdetails.aspx?irn=711025&page=2&term=huia


Via Contain Cats NZ



Recover of wildlife without cats

The removal of cats(domestic and feral) from natural environments enables endemic wildlife to recover and thrive.

“Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island was New Zealand’s first nature reserve. A campaign to eradicate feral cats on the island was successfully concluded in June 1980. Kokako and tieke (saddleback) were liberated following cat eradication and have flourished. Seabirds previously exterminated by cats and kiore are returning”. (Department of Conservation)

Article; a trip to Great Barrier Island. Auckland’s Petrel problem.

“It’s been a bad year for cats getting these birds and often when they kill a mother rail, somebody finds the chicks and brings them to Karen.

Rails are well camouflaged and can hid from most predators, but cats seem able to sniff them out, she says.

“There’s a big feral cat problem on this island and what they do to black petrels is particularly nasty. I’ve found petrels killed by cats. The birds are too big for the cats to manage, so they pull their feathers out to incapacitate them, or bite their heads off.”

On Great Barrier Island, Karen favours household cats being sterilized and not replaced once they die of old age.”

Artist Karen Walker wants to cats eventually banned from Great Barrier. The NZ Herald 5:00 AM Friday Jan 30, 2015



Via Contain Cats NZ


Shore plover (Thinornis novaeseelandiae)

Via Contain Cats NZ:


Shore plover (Thinornis novaeseelandiae)

New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Nationally Critical

In NZ free roaming cats (domestic and feral) are a threat to the long term survival of many shorebirds.

“New Zealand shore plover are critically endangered, with only 63 breeding pairs currently known. 30 (17 from the Trust) captive-bred juveniles were first released on Motutapu Island in early 2012. In June 2013 there were four birds (one female, three males) remaining on the island – sighted at Gardiners Gap and Pig Bay. After the 2012 release several dead individuals were found in an Auckland garden, predated by cats. One dead female was also found on Takapuna Beach in Auckland due to cat predation.”

(The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust, Wednesday 28th January 2015)

source; https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Isaac-Conservation-and-Wildlife-Trust/409424942495457?fref=nf

image (c/- NZ birds online); Shore plover. Male adult with chick. Mana Island, December 2012. Image © Glenda Rees by Glenda Rees Glenda Rees (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nzsamphotofanatic/)


Here is another article in regards to the NZ shore plover:


Birds have been using the same (flight routes and) nesting grounds for thousand of years and to relocate them can be difficult and sometimes even Impossible.

It should be us humans modifying our lives around nature and doing the right things.Not the other way around.

(But as 99.9999% of the world’s population are unsuccessful in life or in one of the 3 aspects, because they are in a mental state of sleep,this state of wakening sleep causes all sort of other problems to the planet.

And it’s therefore a slow and maybe impossible task.)

New Zealand dotterel (Charadrius obscurus) 

Via contain cats NZ


New Zealand dotterel (Charadrius obscurus)

New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Nationally Vulnerable

“Cats, stoats and hedgehogs and rats are the most common predators of eggs and chicks. Cats and stoats also kill some adult birds, especially during the breeding season. Cats hunt at night, preying on dotterels that are incubating nests. Unfledged chicks are easy prey – one cat can wipe out all the nests in their home range in a single night”. (NZ Department of Conservation)

Via Wade Doak



NZ dotterel are so vulnerable, dashing along the water’s edge for food. Raising their young on popular beaches. Nesting on the dunes. Pretending a wing is broken to lure us away.

Image from our book: “Bringing Back the Birdsong”, where the dotterel story is told. On sale at the Surfshop Tutukaka, and good book stores.


Extinct New Zealand bittern (Ixobrychus novaezelandiae) 


New Zealand bittern (Ixobrychus novaezelandiae)

Endemic. Extinct 1890’s

Once widespread in NZ, the arrival of rats and then cats throughout the land saw the decline of this species. It was reported to have shown alarm at the sight of a cat, suggesting it had a learned response from the impact of these predators. The ultimate extinction could also be attributed to the arrival of stoats in its remaining stronghold .. the S.I West coast.

(image of NZ bittern attempting to camouflage itself by perching in sedge, near a west coast swamp. Courtesy of Tepapa museum)

Threats and conservation

The early scarcity of New Zealand little bitterns may have been due the early spread of Norway rats and feral cats throughout New Zealand. A captive bird showed alarm at the presence of a cat. Their final demise seems to coincide well with the first wave of the stoat invasion on the West Coast and was before the wetlands were drained for farming.

Read more :