Shorebirds at Pūkorokoro

Thousands of shorebirds can be seen on the shellbanks and tidal flats at Pūkorokoro, on the Firth of Thames. Some species, such as the Godwit, are Arctic migrants. Others migrate within New Zealand, such as the Wrybill and South Island Pied Oystercatcher. Still others, including Pied Stilts, NZ Dotterel and Variable Oystercatchers, are resident in the area and breed here.

Arctic Migrants

Arctic migrants fly each year from New Zealand to the tundra of Eastern Siberia and Alaska to breed. Then in September-October, after a flight of over 12,000 kilometers they arrive back on our shores. It is a remarkable tale of migration, and one you can find out all about at the Shorebird Centre.

Pūkorokoro is an important wintering ground for thousands of Arctic nesting shorebirds.

Most common species: Bar-tailed Godwit, Lesser or Red Knot

Other species: Ruddy Turnstone, Eastern Curlew, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Red necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Pacific Golden Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Large Sand Dotterel, Semi-palmated Plover, Shore Plover

New Zealand Migrants

Pūkorokoro also plays an important role in bird migration systems within New Zealand. Each year huge flocks of Pied Oystercatchers return here after breeding in the South Island. Over 20,000 can be found on the Firth of Thames from late summer. Up to 2500 Wrybill, around 40% of the total number of this endemic NZ bird, also flock at Pūkorokoro for the non breeding season. At the same time there may also be hundreds of Banded Dotterel.

Pūkorokoro Residents

At least three endemic species breed at Miranda: the New Zealand Dotterel, Variable Oystercatcher and Black -Billed Gull.  Other breeding species include Pied Stilt, Spur-winged Plover, White-faced Heron, Banded Rail , Black-backed Gull, White-fronted Tern and Pukeko. Other species regularly seen include: Grey Teal , New Zealand Shoveler, Sacred Kingfisher , five species of Cormorant, White Heron, Cattle Egret, Royal Spoonbill and occassionally Banded Rail and Bittern.