The Russell peninsula is a special place because it is home to two of New Zealand’s rarest birds – the North Island Brown kiwi and the North Island weka. Both kiwi and weka are in the bush around our bay – you will certainly hear them, especially the bumptious weka, but kiwi are night birds and shy – and so rarely seen. At night Russell is also one of the few places on the mainland North Island where you can hear the calls of all of NZ’s nocturnal birds: ruru (native owl) and pukeko (swamp hen) as well as kiwi and weka and sometimes spur winged plover.

Other birds you could see or hear are:

  • tui (parson bird)
  • piwakwaka (fantail)
  • tauhou (white eye)
  • kukupa (wood pigeon)
  • riroriro (grey warbler)
  • kotare (kingfisher)
  • welcome swallow
  • mynah
  • kahu (NZ harrier)
  • spur winged plover
  • ring necked pheasant
  • putangitangi (paradise shelduck)
  • california quail
  • miromiro (tom-tit)
  • chaffinch
  • goldfinch
  • yellowhammer
  • eastern rosella, if you’re quick,
  • shining cuckoo, if you’re eagle-eyed, you hear them all day in spring

In the wetlands:

  • matata (fern bird)
  • matuku (bittern)
  • possibly pateke (the very rare NZ brown teal)

In the bay and islands:

  • NZ Dotterel (endangered)
  • torea (oyster catcher)
  • tara (caspian and white-fronted terns )
  • white faced heron
  • poaka (pied stilt)
  • karoro (black backed gull)
  • tarapunga (red billed gull)
  • takapu (gannet)
  • kawau (black shag)
  • karuhiruhi (pied shag)
  • pakaha & kuaka (petrels)
  • titi (shearwaters)
  • royal spoonbill (uncommon)
  • and the tiny, little korora, the little blue penguin, from which comes Russell’s Maori name– Kororareka – sweet little penguin.
Gold Medal Views, Food and Hospitality for our 7 day stay, It was Perfection !!

Robin & Elaine, UK