See & Do

Our birds make their presence known through their tapestry of chirps, fleeting flybys and rustling in the trees.

Over 30 different species live in, or pass through, Cornwall Park. We’re a central pit stop for birds as they move throughout Auckland and beyond. Many birds only fly up to 2.5km at a time and need places to rest and feed on their journey. Some are on their way to the North-West Wildlink, a 50km corridor for birds linking wildlife sanctuaries in the Waitakere Ranges and the Hauraki Gulf. Other birds may be heading south or checking out other central locations. You'll see birds only found in New Zealand - such as the Kereru, Tui, Paradise Duck and Grey Warbler, and many introduced birds such as finches, pigeons and doves, quails, and pheasants. 

We can’t guarantee a sighting of your favourite, but we’ve provided some tips below on where they’re most likely to be found - or stop by Huia Lodge Information Center and we’ll point you in the right direction. 

See the map below to find common places for some of our birds. 

Tui

Other names Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae, Parson Bird
Eats Nectar, fruit insects,


Spot our native Tui in the Rewarewa Trees below the Rangitoto Steps and in the Kowhai trees (when in flower in September) - they love hanging out where there is nectar and fruit to eat! Tui are skilled mimics and used to be tamed by Māori and trained to repeat phrases of up to 70 words. They are notoriously aggressive and will chase away other birds from their feeding territory. Photo: Norrie Montgomerie

Paradise Shelduck

Other names Pūtangitangi, Tadorna variegata
Eats Grass, clover, seeds


During breeding time in August to December, you can find them in pairs with their chicks in the spud paddock, boiler paddock trough, chestnut paddock, and the Grand Drive/Kenneth Myres drive area. Ordinary ducks’ legs are far back on their bodies, which is better for swimming. Paradise shelducks’ legs are in the middle of their bodies, which is better for walking. The Paradise Shelduck is New Zealand’s most widely distributed waterfowl, and is endemic.

Shining Cuckoo

Other names Pipiwharauroa, Chrysococcyx lucidus
Eats Insects, spiders


Every year, the shining cuckoo does a round-trip journey between New Zealand (where it breeds) and the Solomon Islands (where it over-winters). They are brood parasites - laying their eggs in the nests of Grey Warblers so they don’t have to raise them themselves. They are more often heard than seen, and are in the park during Spring and Summer. Photo: Norrie Montgomerie

Californian Quail

Other names Callipepla californica
Eats Seeds, fruit, leaves, invertebrates


Find our Californian Quail on the slopes behind Huia Lodge Information Centre, often under the Olive trees. During Autumn, family groups gather together in large conveys, in which they feed and roost together. Juveniles only eat insects whereas the adults have a more generalist diet.

Pheasant

Other names Peihana, Phasianus colchicus
Eats Leaves, seeds, fruits, invertebrates


Pheasants swallow sharp pebbles to help them grind up their food. They were introduced by early European colonists for hunting purposes. Pheasants are easy to spot throughout the park due to their distinctive colouration. Come say hello to our two resident ones around Huia Lodge.

Kererū

Other names New Zealand Pigeon, Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae
Eats Fruit, leaves, buds, flowers


Kererū (which are not wood pigeons as they are sometimes called) are an important keystone species in New Zealand as they are the only birds left that are able to swallow large fruits of native trees (such as taraire and karaka) and are therefore the only birds that can help these trees disperse. In Autumn they hang out in one of their favourite spots in the Blueberry Ash trees outside the Bistro.

Fantail

Other names Pīwakawaka, Rhipidura fuliginosa placabilis
Eats Invertebrates such as moths, flies, wasps, beetles, spiders


The fantails jerky movements meant that Māori sometimes described a restless person as a pīwakawaka. The reason they seem so friendly is that people disturb insects while walking, making it easy for the fantail to snatch up prey around them. Spot them in our Kauri Groves and among our other native trees. Photo: Norrie Montgomerie

Blackbird

Other names Manu pango, Turdus merula
Eats Insects, molluscs, worms, fruit


When blackbirds have mites, they seek out ants and squat among them; the ants defend themselves by shooting formic acid – a natural insecticide which helps the birds get rid of their mites. They help us by feeding on garden pests such as snails and slugs. Pictured is a male; females and juveniles are brown all over. Find them throughout the park all year round.

Common Myna

Other names Acridotheres tristis
Eats Insects, fruit, nectar, food scraps


Mynas are pests, known for killing other birds and kicking them out of nest sites. They are territorial birds and mate for life. They are native to India, Pakistan and Burma and were introduced to many Pacific Islands.

Eastern Rosella

Other names Platycercus eximius
Eats Seeds, fruit, nectar, buds, insects


When Rosellas were first brought over from Australia in 1910, customs in Dunedin denied them entry, so the exporter released them further up the coast. They out-compete our endemic kakariki (red-fronted parakeet), and spread parrot-specific diseases which pose a threat to our native parrots. Find them amongst tall trees - particularly the figs, pines and eucalyptus.

Goldfinch

Other names Carduelis carduelis
Eats Seeds, insects during breeding season


Golfinch have powerful stomach muscles which helps them grind up tough seeds. Goldfinches are helpful to us in that they prevent the spread of introduced weeds such as thistles by eating their seeds. Find them grazing in flocks in the paddocks around the park.

Grey Warbler

Other names Riroriro, Gerygone igata
Eats Insects, spiders


Grey warblers are victims of brood parasitism by shining cuckoos. Shining cuckoos lay their eggs in grey warbler nests, tricking the grey warbler into raising the cuckoo chick. Grey warblers are more often heard than seen - they have a distinctive loud trilling song. Find them amongst dense native vegetation around the park.

House Sparrow

Other names Tiu, Passer domesticus
Eats Seeds, fruit, buds, flowers, nectar of introduced plants, food scraps


Sparrows are some of the most common birds in the world, found naturally on over two thirds of the earth’s land area. They were introduced to New Zealand in the 1860’s and by the 1880’s they were regarded as pests.

Australian Magpie

Other names Makipai, Gymnorhina tibicen
Eats Insects, worms, occasionally small birds


Magpies are aggressive in the breeding season, particularly to other birds that come close to their nest. They were introduced from Australia in the 1860’s to control insect pests. Find them on paddock fences and in old macrocarpa and pine trees around the park.

Scared Kingfisher

Other names Kōtare, Todiramphus sanctus
Eats Insects, small crustaceans, fish and reptiles


Kingfishers nest in holes in trees, cliffs and banks. They are found anywhere where there is water or open country. We have plenty of skinks in the park which they like to feed on. Find them sitting on fence posts or sitting at the top of trees.

Red-Billed Gull

Other names Akiaki, Larus novaehollandiae
Eats Krill, food scraps, insects


Red Billed Gulls are considered tapu because their calls once warned Te Arawa people of Ngāpuhi fighters paddling to Mokoia Island to commit a stealth assault. Although they are common, their breeding colony has been declining significantly due to introduced predators and climate change.

Rock Pigeon

Other names Columba livia
Eats Food scraps, seeds


Many of the rock pigeons in New Zealand are descended from the homing pigeons once used by newspapers, businesses and government for communication. They are a gregarious species - often feeding, roosting and travelling in flocks.

Silvereye

Other names Tauhou, White-eye, Zosterops lateralis
Eats Insects, grubs, spiders, small fruit, nectar


Silvereye’s Māori name means “stranger”, as they only made their way to New Zealand in the 1850s. They are very important seed dispersers for many of our native trees. Their silver/white ring around their eyes makes them easy to identify. Find them among fruiting trees around the park, often in flocks.

Song Thrush

Other names Turdus philomelos
Eats Insects, molluscs, small fruit


Song thrushes sometimes smash open snail shells on a favourite stone, called an anvil stone, so they can eat the snail inside. Like blackbirds, they are territorial and sing from the tops of trees or poles. Find them feeding on the ground amongst vegetation around the park.

Spotted Dove

Other names Streptopelia chinensis
Eats Seeds


Spotted doves are native to South-East Asia and were introduced to New Zealand in the 1920’s. They can be seen perching in trees alongside rock pigeons or feeding on the ground. Spot them along Twin Oaks Drive and on the corner of Bollard Ave and Grand Drive.

Spur-Winged Plover

Other names Masked Lapwing, Vanellus miles
Eats Insects, crustaceans


If you get too close to a plover’s nest, they often pretend to be injured to lure you away. They get their name from a long yellow spur protruding from the carpal area (‘elbow’) of each wing. You can find them feeding in open paddocks around the park.

Starling

Other names Tāringi, Sturnus vulgaris
Eats Insects, food scraps, nectar


In summer, Starlings will often grab a mouthful of worker ants to rub into their feathers as insecticide. They were introduced to New Zealand to control caterpillar plagues and grass grubs. They also remove ticks from sheep and cattle. They can often be seen making elaborate calls from the tops of trees or posts, and foraging on the ground.

Welcome Swallow

Other names Warou, Hirundo neoxena
Eats Insects such as blowflies, midges, beetles, moths


You might catch these guys following you around the park to feed on the insects that get stirred up from the grass as you walk. They make their nests out of mud and grasses. Find them sitting on wire fences and on the tops of buildings, and watch them swoop low to the ground as they catch insects on the wing.

White-Faced Heron

Other names Matuku moana, Ardea novaehollandiae
Eats Small fish, crabs, worms, insects, spiders, mice, lizards, tadpoles, frogs


White-faced herons wait for their prey to come close enough to grab or find food by combing through mud with their feet. They are New Zealand’s most common heron, and are also found in Australia and New Guinea. Find them flying overhead, sitting on troughs or feeding in wet pasture following heavy rain.

Chickens

Eats Worms, seeds, insects, food scraps


We don’t love having chickens in the park - people tend to drop their unwanted birds here and their presence encourages rats. See our resident chickens at the corner of Grand Drive and Bollard Avenue.

Guineafowl

Other names Numida meleagris
Eats Grass, seeds, fruit, leaves


This African gamebird was introduced to New Zealand in the 1860’s. Guineafowl tend to stay together in flocks of 6-20 birds. Young guineafowl are called keets, not chicks. Find them at the corner of Twin Oak Drive and Bollard Ave.