The Rock | Bay of Islads Adventure Cruise

New Zealand Dotterel

Bird Life

Tūturiwhatu Pukunui

The impacts of coastal development on habitat introduced predators and disturbance during breeding seasons are all factors in the drop in numbers.
The once widespread and common native bird, New Zealand Dotterel is now an endangered species. This local wildlife is also known as Tūturiwhatu pukunui currently has a population of 1700 which makes it more at risk than other native birds in New Zealand. They are considered to be delicate birds that require minimal disturbance, especially during breeding seasons.

What are the other names of the New Zealand Dotterel? 

The New Zealand Dotterel has a lot of other names although it is only found in New Zealand. Other names such as Red-breasted dotterel, tūturiwhatu, tūturiwhatu pukunui, rako, red-breasted plover, and New Zealand plover. 

How do they look like?

Tuturiwhatu birds are the biggest shorebirds in their family, usually seen near the coastline or sometimes close to residential areas. It has brown upperparts and cream with a shade of orange to red underpants depending on the season. The male New Zealand dotterels generally have darker shades compared to the females. They have a dark black bill just long enough in proportion to its size. Because of their earth tone colours, they easily blend in the background while at rest. But once they are in motion you can easily spot them for their quick and jumpy movements. 

Where can you find these endangered birds in New Zealand?

You can find them in Northern Coastal areas like the Bay of Islands and Stewart Island in the South of New Zealand. But beware, you could easily know their presence by their “chip-chip” calls even before they are spotted. 
The New Zealand Dotterel in the Northern region are popularly found nesting on these beaches:

Te Arai Stream
Poutawa Stream
Pakari River mouth
Omaha Spit
Papakanui Spit
Beehive Island
Gulf Harbour
The Wade River mouth
Beaches south of Auckland city
Waiheke and Great Barrier islands

Fun facts about Tūturiwhatu

Did you know that the oldest New Zealand dotterel is said to have lived at least 42 years?

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