Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

Spur-winged Plover

Scientific name:

 Vanellus miles novaehollandiae



Conservation status:

 Native. Not threatened

Mainland status:

 abundant in S.I. and N.I. 


 38cm, 370g (male); 350g (female)


 16+ years


 June - late November


 Earthworms, insects and their larvae, crustaceans and molluscs.

Self introduced from Australia to Southland in the 1930s the spur-winged plover is now found throughout New Zealand in open country pastures, wetland margins and estuaries. 

This large noisy plover has a black on its crown, the back of its neck and shoulders in front of the bend of the wing. The back and wings are brown with a dark trailing edge to the wings, the rump is white and the tail is tipped black. The under parts are white and the legs and feet are reddish. The bill is yellow and the bird has a yellow facial patch and prominent wattles. The call is a loud staccato rattle ‘kerr-kick-ki-ki-ki’.

Spur-winged plovers eat earthworms and insects and their larvae, crustaceans and molluscs and also seeds and leaves.

Breeding takes place between June and late November with the peak in August. Several clutches are laid each year. The nest is a scrape in the ground, unlined or scantily lined, situated in rough open pasture, a flat wet area or on stony ground. The clutch of 1–4 khaki eggs with brownish, black blotches is incubated by both sexes for 30 31 days. The fledging period is 7–8 weeks.

Spur-winged plovers are often seen in the mown grassy areas of Tiritiri Matangi, especially at the southern end of the Island.

Discover more about the spur-winged plover at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Dr Kerry Rodgers ©

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.