Five minute bird call survey

The five-minute bird count method has been used widely throughout New Zealand since the 1970’s to monitor the density & diversity of local bird populations.

The method is quite simple.
You stand quietly in one place for five minutes, & record all birds seen or heard in that time.
This method ideal in our native rainforests, where dense vegetation can make birds harder to see.

These counts are used as an index measure & used for comparisons in an area over time.

New Zealand Native Birds
   Bellbird / Korimako  Well camouflaged, the bellbird is usually heard before it is seen. Females are dull olive-brown, with a slight blue sheen on the head & a pale yellow cheek stripe. Males are olive green, with a purplish head and black outer wing & tail feathers.  Bellbirds are unique to New Zealand, & on Captain Cook’s arrival he described them as sounding ‘like small bells exquisitely tuned’. 


Bellbird / Korimako
Well camouflaged, the bellbird is usually heard before it is seen. Females are dull olive-brown, with a slight blue sheen on the head & a pale yellow cheek stripe. Males are olive green, with a purplish head and black outer wing & tail feathers.

Bellbirds are unique to New Zealand, & on Captain Cook’s arrival he described them as sounding ‘like small bells exquisitely tuned’. 

   Fantail / Piwakawaka  Easily recognised by its long tail which opens to a fan.  Known for its friendly ‘cheet cheet’ call and energetic flying antics, the aptly named fantail is one of the most common & widely distributed native birds on the New Zealand mainland.


Fantail / Piwakawaka
Easily recognised by its long tail which opens to a fan.

Known for its friendly ‘cheet cheet’ call and energetic flying antics, the aptly named fantail is one of the most common & widely distributed native birds on the New Zealand mainland.

   Kereru / Wood Pidgeon  The kereru is a large bird with irridescent green and bronze feathers on its head and a smart white vest. The noisy beat of its wings is a distinctive sound in our forests.   New Zealand's native pigeon is the only disperser of large fruits, such as those of karaka & taraire, we have. The disappearance of the kereru would be a disaster for the regeneration of our native forests.


Kereru / Wood Pidgeon
The kereru is a large bird with irridescent green and bronze feathers on its head and a smart white vest. The noisy beat of its wings is a distinctive sound in our forests. 

New Zealand's native pigeon is the only disperser of large fruits, such as those of karaka & taraire, we have. The disappearance of the kereru would be a disaster for the regeneration of our native forests.

   New Zealand Kingfisher  Introduced to New Zealand, and is now our most widely distributed bird species. Now common in a wide range of habitats including suburban gardens, farmlands & wetlands.  Kingfisher normally perch in elevated observation points, like power lines & high trees, so if you’re looking for them look up.


New Zealand Kingfisher
Introduced to New Zealand, and is now our most widely distributed bird species. Now common in a wide range of habitats including suburban gardens, farmlands & wetlands.

Kingfisher normally perch in elevated observation points, like power lines & high trees, so if you’re looking for them look up.

   Paradise Duck / Putakitaki  Unusually for ducks, the female is more eye-catching than the male; females have a pure white head & chestnut-coloured body, while males have a dark grey body & black head.  The paradise shelduck is New Zealand’s only shelduck, large waterfowl that have goose-like features. They are commonly observed flying in pairs or grazing on pasture. They are very vocal birds, with males giving a characteristic ‘zonk zonk’, while females make a more shrill ‘zeek zeek’ while flying or as a warning to intruders. 


Paradise Duck / Putakitaki
Unusually for ducks, the female is more eye-catching than the male; females have a pure white head & chestnut-coloured body, while males have a dark grey body & black head.

The paradise shelduck is New Zealand’s only shelduck, large waterfowl that have goose-like features. They are commonly observed flying in pairs or grazing on pasture. They are very vocal birds, with males giving a characteristic ‘zonk zonk’, while females make a more shrill ‘zeek zeek’ while flying or as a warning to intruders. 

   Pukeko / Purple Swamphen  The Pukeko is very common in New Zealand, making the most of any grassland or wetland areas. It is quite a distinctive bird with black wings, a deep blue body & bright orange beak & legs.  While they are capable of flying quite a distance, their flight always looks awkward with their long legs dangling. And more often than not their flights end in a crash landing.


Pukeko / Purple Swamphen
The Pukeko is very common in New Zealand, making the most of any grassland or wetland areas. It is quite a distinctive bird with black wings, a deep blue body & bright orange beak & legs.

While they are capable of flying quite a distance, their flight always looks awkward with their long legs dangling. And more often than not their flights end in a crash landing.

   Tui  These attractive birds can often be heard long before they are spotted. If you are fortunate to glimpse one you will recognise them by their distinctive white tuft under their throat. This tuft contrasts dramatically with the metallic blue-green sheen to their underlying black colour.  Tui are common throughout New Zealand in forests, towns & on off-shore islands. They are found in native forests, bush reserves & bush remnants. They are adaptable birds, & can also be found in suburban areas, particularly in winter if there is a flowering gum about.


Tui
These attractive birds can often be heard long before they are spotted. If you are fortunate to glimpse one you will recognise them by their distinctive white tuft under their throat. This tuft contrasts dramatically with the metallic blue-green sheen to their underlying black colour.

Tui are common throughout New Zealand in forests, towns & on off-shore islands. They are found in native forests, bush reserves & bush remnants. They are adaptable birds, & can also be found in suburban areas, particularly in winter if there is a flowering gum about.

   Wax-eye / Silvereye  The wax-eye, also known as the silvereye – is a small olive green forest bird with white rings around its eyes.  These friendly birds were self introduced in the 1800s and now have a wide distribution throughout New Zealand. They have made the forest their home & are now among the most common bird in suburbia too. They have a pleasant subtle call as they move, in a flock through the forest.


Wax-eye / Silvereye
The wax-eye, also known as the silvereye – is a small olive green forest bird with white rings around its eyes.

These friendly birds were self introduced in the 1800s and now have a wide distribution throughout New Zealand. They have made the forest their home & are now among the most common bird in suburbia too. They have a pleasant subtle call as they move, in a flock through the forest.

Introduced Species
   Black Bird  Introduced to New Zealand, and is now our most widely distributed bird species. Now common in a wide range of habitats including suburban gardens, farmland, woodlands & indigenous forests.  A medium-sized song bird the blackbird is larger than a song thrush. Blackbird is a bit of a misleading name with only the adult male being entirely black, while the female is almost totally brown & even quite light on it’s underside. 


Black Bird
Introduced to New Zealand, and is now our most widely distributed bird species. Now common in a wide range of habitats including suburban gardens, farmland, woodlands & indigenous forests.

A medium-sized song bird the blackbird is larger than a song thrush. Blackbird is a bit of a misleading name with only the adult male being entirely black, while the female is almost totally brown & even quite light on it’s underside. 

   Song Thrush  The song thrush can be recognised by its speckled brown-on-cream chest. But it’s usually heard before it is seen, their distinctive song spans a wide range of notes, repeating it 2-3 times.  Song thrushes were introduced from England, & were released widely in New Zealand from the mid 1800s. Now common throughout mainland New Zealand, they can be found singing from high atop a tree or from power lines.


Song Thrush
The song thrush can be recognised by its speckled brown-on-cream chest. But it’s usually heard before it is seen, their distinctive song spans a wide range of notes, repeating it 2-3 times.

Song thrushes were introduced from England, & were released widely in New Zealand from the mid 1800s. Now common throughout mainland New Zealand, they can be found singing from high atop a tree or from power lines.

   Welcome Swallow  Small fast-flying birds found in open country particularly around lakes, riverbeds & wetlands. They fly low over open water, darting from side to side to catch insects.  Distinctive with a V-shaped tail, blue-black back & grey underside. Welcome Swallows were self-introduced in the mid 1900s, but established quickly & are now quite common


Welcome Swallow
Small fast-flying birds found in open country particularly around lakes, riverbeds & wetlands. They fly low over open water, darting from side to side to catch insects.

Distinctive with a V-shaped tail, blue-black back & grey underside. Welcome Swallows were self-introduced in the mid 1900s, but established quickly & are now quite common

   Yellowhammer  Yellowhammer were introduced from England, released in New Zealand from the mid 1800s. Now common throughout New Zealand, including many off-shore islands.  A small bird, about the size of a sparrow, with a bright yellow head & body, the yellowhammer is easy to identify. They can be found in grasslands, feeding on seeds in large flocks, during most of the year


Yellowhammer
Yellowhammer were introduced from England, released in New Zealand from the mid 1800s. Now common throughout New Zealand, including many off-shore islands.

A small bird, about the size of a sparrow, with a bright yellow head & body, the yellowhammer is easy to identify. They can be found in grasslands, feeding on seeds in large flocks, during most of the year

Native bird recordings were adapted from New Zealand Department of Conservation copyright material, licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand Licence.
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