what is the bird of new zealand

Ah the Kiwis, what a bunch of beautiful, feisty, nocturnal creatures they are… I’m referring to the kiwi bird, of course, however, several parallels can be drawn between New Zealand’s national bird and the humans who call this place home!

The New Zealand kiwi bird (the bird that lends its name to New Zealanders) is both the country’s national bird and unofficial emblem. There is a lot more to these flightless fur-balls (feather-balls technically, but that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it!) than you might think, so much so that we have named one of our epic trips after them, the Kiwi Classic.

On our New Zealand hiking tours our beautiful and unique wildlife plays a big role. We want to enhance your knowledge of our favourite bird, answer all of your questions and tell you some fun facts about this iconic creature. You’ll be able to wow all of your friends with your kiwi bird knowledge or blitz everyone in the next pub quiz when a random question arises like why is a kiwifruit thus named?

Northern Royal Albatross (Toroa)

The perfect example of a seabird are these gregarious, soaring giants. Their 10-foot wingspans give them great comfort as they can soar over vast oceans for years at a time, only coming down to land to nest. Windy conditions at Taiaroa Head, the tip of the Otago Peninsula in Dunedin, attract the only mainland breeding colony of royal albatrosses in the world. Here, among breathtaking views of lush hills and pristine blue waters, one can get up close and personal with these birds to fully appreciate their breathtaking enormity.

Penguins of the Mainland

Thirteen of the eighteen penguin species known to science are found in New Zealand, with three of the most interesting ones being found along the South Island’s coast. These include the endemic yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho), which breeds at Pilots Beach on the Otago Peninsula. They are frequently referred to as the rarest penguins in the world because of the band of pale yellow feathers that surrounds their eyes and neck. They can be “quite easily frightened and so a close approach is only possible by walking in a series of trenches, cleverly dug into hillside,” according to Lindblad naturalist Mike Greenfelder. “The cute little penguin (koror?) has nesting grounds along these shores as well. These little waddlers are native to Australia and are blue-gray in color. They are only 10 inches tall. Although they are nocturnal on land, they are active hunters and are frequently seen near the coasts of the mainland. The endemic Fiordland (tawaki), a coastal breeder found in the southwestern region, is the only crested penguin with small white stripes on its cheeks. It is frequently spotted in Milford Sound and on Stewart Island.

Is kiwifruit named after the kiwi bird?

New Zealand plant breeders used the fruit, formerly known as the Chinese gooseberry, to rebrand it as the kiwifruit in the 1970s as a marketing ploy. The name stuck because the fuzzy brown fruit had some similarities to the kiwi bird found in New Zealand!


What’s the national bird of New Zealand?

The kiwi is a unique and curious bird: it cannot fly, has loose, hair-like feathers, strong legs and no tail. Learn more about the kiwi, the national icon of New Zealand and unofficial national emblem.

What is New Zealand native bird?

Kiwi. Kiwi are flightless birds all native to New Zealand.

What is New Zealand national bird and fruit?

However, New Zealanders never adopted the name and the gooseberries were known locally as kiwifruit, never ever just ‘kiwi’. New Zealanders are in fact named after their national bird, the Kiwi, but that’s just part of the story.

Is kiwi a New Zealand bird?

About the size of a chicken, the kiwi is a small, flightless, and nearly wingless bird found only in New Zealand. Like its larger cousins the cassowary, emu, ostrich, and rhea, the kiwi is classified as a ratite.