The Truth About Wildlife in New Zealand

Known as the seabird capital of the world New Zealand might be a bird-spotters paradise but you’ll also be spoilt for choice if prefer your animals to swim rather than fly. Here are seven of the best animals New Zealand has to offer.


  1. New Zealand plays host to three species of penguin including the world’s smallest, the korora (or little blue penguin). The Yellow-eyed and Fiordland crested varieties are rare with the latter having an unusual habitat; the rainforest floor.
  2. With numbers dwindling the New Zealand Sea Lion is one of the rarest in the world. Conversely, the New Zealand Fur Seal is increasing in size. Although you can get close to these animals, the official advice is to keep your distance.
  3. Bats are the only native land mammal New Zealand has to offer with three species once found there. The Great Short-Tailed bat is now thought to be extinct, while the Long-Tailed Bat and Lesser Short-Tailed bat are on the critically endangered list.
  4. New Zealand has over 30 species of seabird not found anywhere else in the world. The largest of all sea birds, the Albatross, which has a huge wingspan of 3.3 metres is one of the most popular among bird watchers. One of the world’s rarest seabirds, the Chatham Island Taiko, also resides in New Zealand.
  5. There are over 66 types of shark living around the islands as well as unusual whales and dolphins. The Bryde’s, Sperm, Killer and Humpback whale can all be seen at different times of the year. The larger Common and Bottle-nosed dolphin species swim here as does the Hector’s dolphin, which is so small and rare, it’s only found in these waters.
  6. You’ll find plenty of frogs, geckos and skinks as well as the Tuatara, a medium sized reptile. Native to New Zealand it’s thought to be the only surviving reptile from the dinosaur age.
  7. Forest birds of New Zealand are a wide and varied lot. Only 126 Kakapo parrots still exist but the national icon of New Zealand, the Kiwi, fares much better. An unofficial emblem of New Zealand the bird unusually lives and forages on the forest floor, and has a long beak with nostrils at the end of them.

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