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Source: Auckland Council

Auckland’s regional parks are havens for wildlife. If you know where to look, you can spot some of Aotearoa’s rarest and most beautiful birds.

Pack the binoculars and go for a (quiet) walk to see how many birds you can spot on these trails.

1. Tāwharanui Ecology Path

As a predator-proof sanctuary, Tāwharanui is an excellent bird spotting destination. Follow the Ecology Path to rare takahē and tieke/saddlebacks which only live in fenced sanctuaries, as well as kaka swooping above the canopy, and pāteke/brown teal in the wetlands.

For an extra special experience, stay overnight in the campground and go kiwi spotting after dark. The sanctuary is home to northern brown kiwis – listen for their enthusiastic rustling in the undergrowth.

Tāwharanui Ecology Path

2. Rotoroa Island North and South Paths

Go for a day out on the predator-free sanctuary of Rotoroa Island. You have a good chance of spotting resident takahē and weka, as well as tieke/saddlebacks and pāteke/brown teal.

The North and South Paths link up to circumnavigate the island and give you plenty of birdwatching opportunities.

3. Shakespear Heritage Path

Shakespear Regional Park is an open sanctuary. The range of habitats and absence of predators allows forest, wetland, and coastal birds to thrive in this park. Watch for bright green kākāriki, korimako/bellbirds, rare dotterels, and elusive brown teal.

The Shakespear Heritage path runs through regenerating forest and waterfall Gully, the perfect place to keep a keen eye out for swooping tūī and kererū.

Shakespear Regional Park

4. Maukatia Gannet Path

Visit one of the only mainland gannet colonies in New Zealand at Muriwai. The Maukatia Gannet Path is a 25-minute walk around the headland with viewing areas where you can marvel at the impressive birds – their wingspans reach up to 180 centimetres.

5. Cudlip Point Path

Cudlip Point Path in Mahurangi Regional Park is a loop track that varies from seaside to ridge top. Along the way, you can spot birds that call the park home, including blue reef heron, little shags, dotterels, and pied oystercatchers by the waterfront. Blue penguins also live here.

6. Oruawharo River Trail

In Ātiu Creek Regional Park, follow the Oruawharo River Trail to discover sprawling forest and scrubland. As well as common natives such as fantails, grey warblers, kererū, and tūī, the salt marshes and the Kaipara Harbour shoreline contain kingfishers, banded rails, and fern birds. Pāteke/brown teal also live in the reservoir.