Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

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

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

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.