Birds of the Wairarapa and where to see them
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Field guide to the birds of Greytown Park

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New Zealand Falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae)

Description: Fast-flying brown bird of prey which lives entirely on captured live prey, especially small birds and rabbits. Small birds immediately become silent if they see a in vicinity. Will fearlessly attack humans if they approach nest site. Will often perch motionless on look out for prey.

Habitat: Are probably more widespread than is thought as they are fast-flying and most active in early morning and evening. They do not hover whilst hunting like the . Birds resident in the adjacent Tararuas occasionally visit the Park

Australasian Harrier (Circus approximans)

Description: Large brown hawk. Food is a mix of live prey - small birds, rabbits and a lot of road killed carrion (possums, hares, hedgehogs). Wary birds and avoid humans.

Habitat: Usually seen soaring singly over farmland, open country or swamps. Commonly patrols roads and a lot of young birds killed by cars.

Size: 55 cm

Pukeko (Porphyrio porphyrio)

Description: Large bird with deep blue underparts, bright red beak and frontal shield, black upper parts with white under tail displayed by tail flicking as it walks. Harsh screaming call. Flies clumsily with legs trailing but tends more often to run away if disturbed. Grazes pasture and may hold some vegetable matter by one foot and eat "parrot fashion". Also takes frogs, insects and even small ducklings.

Habitat: Frequently seen in family groups foraging within the vicinity of water.

Size: 50 cm

New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae)

Description: Our largest pigeon. Head, throat, upper breast and upper parts metallic green with touches of purple and bronze. Belly white. Distinctive noisy flight in bush and spectacular courtship displays when either bird flies upwards, stalls and dives with stiff outstretched wings. Fruit eaters preferring those of miro, tawa, puriri, coprosma and titoki. Can devastate plum trees and also fond of flowers and leaves of kowhai, tree lucerne, laburnum and broom. Relatively trusting and can be approached quite closely.

Habitat: Look for high up in fruiting trees.

Size: 50 cm

Rock Pigeon (Colomba livia)

Description: Blue grey pigeon with iridescent green purple sheen on neck. Prominent black bars on wings. Urban birds show alot of plumage variation due to interbreeding with dovecote escapees. In towns roost and breed (almost all year round) on ledges of old tall buildings. Rural flocks frequent large bridges and holes in cliffs. Town birds are street scavengers. Country birds flock to newly sown or harvested cereal or pea crops and are disliked by farmers.

Habitat: Most commonly seen in towns roosting on ledges of tall buildings, in the country on newly-sown paddocks, and coastally in holes in cliffs.

Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius)

Description: Perhaps our most colourful parrot, with a mix of scarlet, yellow, black, blue and green. Rapid flight where long tail is obvious. Chattering calls plus clear almost bell-like whistles easily imitated and bitds will often call back. A resourceful bird which eats seeds, fruit, buds and insects. Introduced from Australia, it can be destructive in orchards.
Habitat: Well established in Tararua foothills and from here have spread eastward to Masterton, Greytown and beyond. Favour open lightly timbered country with scattered Totara.

Shining Cuckoo (Chalcites lucidus)

Description: A small bird not much bigger than a sparrow. Crown and upper parts bronze green. Underparts white barred with similar iridescent green. Their simple call of repeated two syllable ascending notes is followed by one or two descending notes. Returns to breed (parasitising nests) after wintering in the Solomon Islands. Eat caterpillars.

Habitat: More often than seen in spring and early summer. Easily imitated and bird will often call back. Frequent native forest, scrub and gardens.

Morepork (Ninox novaeseelandiae)

Description: Our forest owl. More likely to be heard, especially in spring when the males call a repeated "more-pork". If a roosting bird is discovered during the day, birds will mob it noisily.

Habitat: Listen for it at dusk.

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