Forest Wildlife in New Zealand

New Zealand is well-known for its lush greenery, and many people visit the country to see the wildlife that is rife in the forests. In fact, the wildlife is so famous that you’ll even see it featured in pop culture, like online pokies. If you’re unfamiliar with the exciting animals hiding in the forests, let’s go on a journey.


New Zealand has some interesting bird species. The most well-known is undoubtedly the kiwi, a unique, flightless bird. These little birds have feathers that hang loosely from its body, almost like hair. These tiny birds might look cute, but they are territorial and can be pretty fierce. There are five subspecies of kiwi, all of which are endangered. Some organisations actively work to conserve this little bird through taking protective measures against non-native predators, and taking eggs and raising the chicks in ‘kiwi creches’.

The kakapo is another flightless bird in the parrot family. It’s nocturnal and grow to be quite big, with males weighing in at 2.2kg.

Another interesting bird is the kea, a highly intelligent bird that has been seen attacking cars to gather small pieces of rubber. They look very much like parrots and are also, sadly, endangered. These birds are mischievous and have had all sorts of interesting interactions with people. This is part of the reason why many people deliberately kill the bird.

Sea Life

Dolphin watching is a fantastic pastime in New Zealand. You can spot some endemic dolphins to New Zealand, like the Maui and Hector’s dolphins. There are also plenty of turtles, shark, and sea snakes for which to look out. The spotted black grouper is another fish species that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. There are about 66 different species of shark found in the waters surrounding New Zealand. There are also seals and sea lions that you could spot, and whale watching is another popular pastime.

Land Animals

Tuatara is lizards that are only found in New Zealand. They are medium-sized and the last known survivors of the species Sphenodontia, a rife species in the days of the dinosaur. All other species died out about 60 million years ago. There are many other interesting lizard and frog species for which you need to keep an eye out.

Many people dislike bats, but these little flying mammals play an important role in the ecosystem and are the only native land mammals in New Zealand. You’ll see the long-tailed bat, as well as the lesser short-tailed bat. Both of these are critically endangered. According to Maori folklore, bats foretell disasters and death.

Many invertebrate species are native to the country. If you enjoy entomology, you can look for all the different snail species, freshwater insects, the weka, and various other interesting critters.

To Sum Up

While New Zealand is well-known for the film trilogy The Lord of the Rings, there are so much more to see in the country. Unfortunately, most of the endemic species are endangered. If you enjoy learning more about the native forest life, you should travel around the country and enjoy what this beautiful landscape offers and learn more about how you can help conservation efforts.

14 Jun 2021