Birds Found at Ngatuhoa

Ngatuhoa Lodge is surrounded by streams, waterfalls and native bush, making it the ideal place to explore and study nature. It sits within Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, which is managed by the Department of Conservation. The 37,000 ha forest park is a living museum of natural and human history. The park marks the northern limit of kamahi, red and silver beech,and the southern limit of the huge kauri. Birdlife includes fantail, North Island robin, kereru (native pigeon), waxeye or silver-eye, tui and tomtit. Much of the vegetation in the park has been modified by human activity. In the late 1880s the gold mining industry generated huge demand for timber. Kauri were extracted from the Kaimai in large numbers for use in mine construction and for fuel in gold extraction processes. Logging stopped in the Kaimai Forest Park in 1975 but the scars this left on the landscape have largely healed over. Much of the park remains in virgin native forest especially the Opuiaki ecological area.

Kingfisher / kotare

Found near all the streams around the lodge, they nest in holes excavated in trees and banks; some of which can be seen in the bank above the abseiling cliff. They feed on small fish, lizards and large insects and freshwater crayfish/koura.


A large bluish-grey bird with prominent blue wattles below it's chin, the kokako is among the rarest birds in New Zealand. Occasionally Kokako have been seen in the Opuiaki Ecological Area near the lodge and in the cut over bush between the Ngatuhoa stream and the Opuiaki River. It eats young leaves, fruit and insects.

Long-tailed cuckoo / koekoea

The habits of this bird are similar to its smaller relative, the shining cuckoo. It is easily recognised by its brown colouring and a very long tail. Long-tailed cuckoos have been seen in trees close to the lodge.

New Zealand pipit/pihoihoi

Pipits are sometimes seen on the road and clearings on the way into the lodge. They are esstentially birds of the open country, feeding on spiders, worms,insects and seeds. They can be approached quite closely at the Opuiaki intake.

Silver-eye / tauhou

Not indigenous to New Zealand (it arrived here in the mid 1880s from Australia ), the silver-eye is commonly seen and heard on the overland track, particuarly in the cut over areas where secondary growth has sprung up. A small bird, it is coloured olive-green, chestnut and grey.

Tomtit / miromiro

A small black-headed and white breasted (male) or brownish (female) bird, commonly seen on the Overland Track. An insect eater, it sits still on lower branches of trees to dart at insects.


A nectar, berry and insect eater is fairly common on the plateau above the lodge; mostly it is seen and heard high up in the trees. Find out more about Tui on the DOC website.

Whitehead / popokatea

The whitehead is not common in the Ngatuhoa area, but is sometimes in the trees on the plateau above the lodge. About the size of the sparrow, it eats insects and seeds.

Long-tailed bat - pekapeka

Occasionally seen at dusk flying around the campsite, this rare mammal's flight pattern is similar to the fantail's as it darts around chasing insects to feed on.

Korimako / bellbird

The melodious bellbird is still widespread but mammalian predators keep their numbers low. New Zealand status: Endemic Conservation status: Not Threatened Found in: North, South, Stewart and Auckland Islands and many offshore islands Threats: Predation


The kiwi is New Zealand's best known bird, but few people have ever seen them in the wild. They are nocturnal and sometimes their screech-like calls can be heard at night on the plateau above Ngatuhoa Stream.

Bush robin / toutouwai

The New Zealand robin or toutouwai is a sparrow-sized bird found only in New Zealand. They are friendly and trusting, often coming to within a couple of metres of people. New Zealand status: Endemic Conservation status: At Risk–Declining Found in: Forests with dense, even, canopies and ground covered with leaf litter Threats: Habitat loss, predation

Fantail / piwakawaka

A small member of the fly-catcher family, the fantail feeds on insects which it takes on the wing as it flits around streams and through the bush. A common sight around the lodge.

Shining cuckoo / pipiwharauroa

Cuckoos are migratory birds which arrive in New Zealand around mid August. They are more often heard than seen. Their call, comprising several notes followed by a single falling note, can be heard all through the bush in early summer. The cuckoo lays its egg in the nests of grey warblers, chaffinches and whiteheads, leaving the host bird to raise its chick.


The Kaka is a fairly large, brownish parrot with crimson feathers under it's wings and tail. It feeds on grubs and beetle larvae, which it from the ground or rotten wood, as well as fruit, seeds and nectar. Very noisy while feeding or flying, kaka are occasionally seen around the lodge

Wood pigeon / kereru

These large colourful birds are often seen flying over the valley in which the lodge is located. Berries are their main food but they also eat leaves, shoots and flowers. Find out more about kereru on the DOC website.

Plants & Trees found at Ngatuhoa


All of New Zealand's podocarp species are found growing here. Rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum) is fairly dominant, and a large area west and south of the Te Rere I Oturu falls has been designated an ecological area because of the rich concentration of rimu in this region. The only true totara are a few young trees planted recently, though Hall's totara (Podocarpus cunninghamii) is scattered throughout. Miro (Prumnopitys ferruginea) and matai (Prumnopitys taxifolia) are also found here, as well as some quite large kahikatea trees (Dacrycarpus dacrydiodes) in the valleys. Phyllocladus varieties, also belonging to the podocarp family, are fairly plentiful, especially tanekaha on the ridges.

Beech trees and hardwoods

Most hardwoods common to lowland forests thrive in the park, including tawa, rewarewa, kamahi, kapuka, hinau and others. Native beeches (nothofagus spp.) are rare, but some are being planted around the lodge, including red, silver and mountain beech.


Most of the tree ferns are plentiful, and there is a wide representation of smaller fern species. While some such as the Prince of Wales feather fern (todea superba) grow best in the sheltered valleys, others such as the Leptopteriss hymenophylkloides are found everywhere. Flowering plants The large white clematis vine and some varieties of tree daisies (Olearias) adorn areas of the forest with their attractive flowers in late September - October.