Identifying New Zealand birds

Tips, tricks and tools + the New Zealand Garden Bird Survey

With the annual New Zealand Garden Bird Survey now under way, we thought it was time to put together our box of bird identification tricks. Here are our favourite tools, online and on paper, to help you recognise and record those birds.


Experiencing birds in your green space

This fabulous resource was developed in conjunction with Landcare Research, the scientists behind the NZ Garden Bird survey. There are some great learning sequences for primary and secondary students, including a ‘Birds often found in NZ’ ID chart and teacher tips for carrying out an effective survey.


New Zealand Birds Online

This is a digital encyclopaedia of all birds found in New Zealand and is searchable by name, geographic distribution and conservation status. Visitors can search through information written by experts, listen to bird calls and browse over 8,700 photographs. There’s also a super handy bird identification tool for those tricky visitors.


DoC Bird Identification online course

This quick course helps you identify the 10 most commonly observed New Zealand forest birds. You’ll learn about the appearance, calls and habitat of birds like the silvereye, grey warbler, tomtit, chaffinch and rifleman. It’s loosely aimed at people who want to work or volunteer in conservation but anyone who’s interested can do it.



Whatbird is a practical bird identification tool for community groups and landowners involved in biodiversity monitoring.

It is not intended to be a complete database of the birds of New Zealand and is currently under development. Whatbird is great for identifying the 51 commonly encountered species (exotic and native bird species) in and around New Zealand forests. Very rare bird species, species with highly localised distribution and seabirds are not generally included.


Which New Zealand Bird?

Andrew Crowe, Penguin NZ

Perhaps a little more practical for taking into the forest than a laptop is this exquisitely illustrated classic guide by Andrew Crowe. The unique book is designed to appeal to children and adults alike covering 98 endemic, native, introduced or migrant bird species from all the main habitats.


Birds of New Zealand – Locality Guide

Stuart Chambers, Arun Books

This very popular guide is now in its third edition, and now includes a 112-page guide to the best bird-watching sites in New Zealand. This guide is for those who, having seen a bird on the page or screen, want to experience it in nature.


Topflite is proud to sponsor the NZ Garden Bird Survey. Whichever identification tool you use, make sure you join the count with us at


My Cart

Search Topflite Products

Product Categories

News & Tips