28 December, 2011

Red-crowned Parakeet

Scientific Name: Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae

Population Estimate: 21K - 25K, Vulnerable status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to New Zealand where prefers forested areas. Very rare in mainland forests, but common on Stewart Island and in sanctuaries.

Field Notes: All green parakeet with red crown, red eye, and red eye stripe. Violet blue on wing coverts. Yellow-crowned Parakeet similar but with yellow crown and without red eye stripe.

Personal Notes: Maori name Kakariki. First seen at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary and then later in the wild on Stewart Island.

12 December, 2011

Double-banded Plover

Scientific Name: Charadrius bicinctus

Population Estimate: 51K

Range / Habitat: Breeds in inland wetlands of New Zealand. Non-breeding birds form flocks and some migrate to Australia, Fiji.

Field Notes: Medium-sized plover. Breeding plumage as above with black neck band and broad, chestnut chest band (male bands darker than females). Non-breeding adults highly variable, losing facial markings and portions of bands. Non-breeding New Zealand Plover similar but no remnant bands across chest and having white cheeks.

Personal Notes: Seen at Onoke Spit. In New Zealand known as Banded Dotterel. Maori name Tuturiwhatu.

05 December, 2011

Eastern Rosella

Scientific Name: Platycercus eximius

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia and Tasmania where it favors lightly wooded areas. Subsequently introduced to New Zealand where it is found primarily on the North Island.

Field Notes: Long-tailed parrot with red head and upper breast, cheeks white. Lower breast yellow. Back, rump, and flanks mottled yellow-green. Blue wings.

Personal Notes: Seen in the Wairarapa, Kenepuru, and even in the hills of Wellington outside Karori.

04 December, 2011

Little Black Cormorant

Scientific Name: Phalacrocorax sulcirostris

Population Estimate: 110K - 1M

Range / Habitat: In lakes, estuaries and harbors in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Paupa New Guinea.

Field Notes: Small cormorant, all black with sculpted appearance, grey bill, and green eye. Juvenile phase of Little Pied Cormorant has longer tail and yellow bill. 

Personal Notes: Known in New Zealand as Little Black Shag.

Spotted Shag

Scientific Name: Phalacrocorax punctatus

Population Estimate: 35K - 150K

Range / Habitat: Endemic to New Zealand, where found in estuaries, harbors, and coastal waters of both islands.

Field Notes: Large, slender cormorant with long brown bill, long tail, and yellow feet. Broad white stripe from above eye and down sides of neck. Light brown wings with darker spots. The white stripe and spotted wings differentiate from Great Cormorant and Australian Pied Cormorant.

Personal Notes: We first saw this bird on the Otago Peninsula, later found it in Wellington Harbour, and finally found a "colony" at Oamaru (top photo). Maori name Parekareka.

Rock Dove

Scientific Name: Columba livia

Population Estimate: 260M

Range / Habitat: Originating from the rocky coastline of the British Isles, this species is now found in cities around the world.

Field Notes: Unmistakable given the habitat, though the bird has a variety of plumages.

Personal Notes: We finally took this photo in Wellington, New Zealand, to get to our 200th bird post of the year!

White-fronted Tern

Scientific Name: Sterna striata

Population Estimate: 1.5M

Range / Habitat: Coasts of New Zealand and Australia.

Field Notes: Pale hooded tern with long black bill and short black or reddish-black legs. Breeding plumage (as above) with black cap separated from bill by white forehead. Black-fronted Tern found inland on South Island and with orange bill.

Personal Notes: A delightful find in Wellington Harbor during a rainy Sunday farmers' market. Maori name Tara.