Are you a birder, twitcher, bird photographer, or simply someone who is just interested in seeing some of the resident birds around Kaikoura?
Kaikoura isn’t just about what’s in the water; there’s plenty to see on land as well!
Kaikoura is well known for its seabird and water bird species. We will cover them on this page.
But we’ll also reveal other birds you can see around further away from the water. The lesser known Kaikoura residents who are no less interesting or beautiful than the town’s more famous inhabitants.
It’s no surprise that some of the best Kaikoura birdwatching is done out on the ocean.
The offshore Kaikoura Albatross Encounter pelagic boat trip has recorded the most species in the Kaikoura region – an impressive 106 species to date (according to eBird records).
Seabird buffs heading out on a pelagic from Kaikoura are rarely disappointed, with this one of the very best seabird watching locations in NZ.
For those more inclined to stay on land, the Peninsula Walkway is no slouch when it comes to birdwatching opportunities. You’ll be able to see some seabirds from there at times, as well as a host of other water birds and passerines.
Silvereye, Welcome Swallow, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Yellowhammer and New Zealand Bellbirds just to name a few. At the water’s edge look out for White-faced Herons and Little Pied Cormorants, and if you’re lucky, a sighting of South Island Pied Oystercatcher. Around bird 80 species have been observed from the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.
Bird Species of Kaikoura
As you can see, even a walk along the peninsula walkway at Kaikoura can yield some excellent birding.
Although many of the 64 may be uncommon, you’re still likely to see a good number of birds around if you pay attention to your surroundings.
Here’s a list of birds see over the years at or near the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway:
South Island Oystercatcher
Little Pied Cormorant
New Zealand Bellbird
New Zealand Fantail
New Zealand Falcon
New Zealand Pigeon
If you want to see marine birds in New Zealand, Kaikoura is the place to do it. From majestic Great Albatross who spend their entire lives on the sea, to the smaller Shearwaters, Kaikoura is a birdwatcher’s paradise.
How to see Seabirds in Kaikoura
If you are going on a whale watching tour, you are likely to come across many birds along the way.
If however you want to embark on a more bird-specific tour then there are a number of options for heading out on to the water on a pelagic trip with highly knowledgable local bird guides who know exactly where and how to find birds, and can assist in identification. Albatross Encounter is one such company, with specialist pelagic bird watching tours available for $150 (adult price).
More than any other location on mainland NZ, Kaikoura is a hotspot for seabirds.
Albatross (13 species)
Petrels (14 species)
Shearwaters (7 species)
Plus many other types of seabirds and waterbirds including gulls, shags, terns and a special little penguin.