Below are just a few of the birds gracing our Tutukaka shores for some or part of each year.
Bar Tailed Godwits
Every spring, bar-tailed godwits make the 11,000-kilometre journey from Alaska to New Zealand.
This is the longest nonstop flights of any non-seabird, and, unlike a seabird, there is no chance of an inflight snack. They are the most numerous tundra-breeding shorebird species to occur in New Zealand, with around 90,000 here each year. They can be spotted in the Ngunguru Estuary. The godwits receive a special welcome from the children at Ngunguru School when they return to the area each spring.
Whimbrels are large shorebirds which migrate to New Zealand from Arctic breeding grounds in small numbers. Most records are during the summer but a few birds occasionally overwinter. In New Zealand they typically associate with bar-tailed godwits, from which they differ in being darker, having a striped head and a strongly down-curved bill.
The royal spoonbill is one of six spoonbill species worldwide, and the only one that breeds in New Zealand.
It has successfully colonised New Zealand from Australia and is now widespread, breeding at multiple sites on both main islands, and dispersing to coastal sites across the country after the breeding season. In flight, birds hold their neck outstretched and trail legs behind, looking rather awkward, like a “Dr Seuss” cartoon bird. Their closest relatives are the ibises.