The vision of the Songbird Project identifies six native bird species that the group would like to see in the Eastern Bays; bellbird/korimako, kākāriki, kākā, tūī, fantail/pīwakawaka and kererū. All of these species have been identified as suitable candidates for reintroduction to urban areas in New Zealand, but require intensive pest control and a year-round food supply to flourish.
Bellbird, kākāriki and kākā are all rare on the Auckland mainland but are present on many of the pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Tūī, kereru and fantail are already found in the Eastern Bays in low numbers as are swamp harrier, silvereye, grey warbler, kingfisher, morepork and shining cuckoo, which is a seasonal migrant.
Bellbirds are common in urban areas in the South Island but absent from most of the mainland North Island north of the Waikato and Coromandel Peninsula. Bellbirds forage on flax, kōwhai, rewarewa and pōhutukawa nectar and also consume honeydew, small fruits and invertebrates. Nests are often well-hidden behind the dead fronds of tree ferns / ponga or in dense tangles of vegetation. Bellbirds are vulnerable to predation by rats, especially at night-time in their roosts. They require habitat with low pest densities, especially in the northern North Island where ship rat densities can be high.
For more info see - http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/bellbird
NZ wood pigeon/kererū
Kererū are present in urban Auckland throughout the year and spend most of their time within a home-range of 326 ha. Kererū are the most important dispersers of large fleshy fruits such as miro, pūriri, taraire and tawa, so they are a key species in forest regeneration. They forage on the fruits and foliage of species such as pūriri, cabbage tree, nīkau and kōwhai in urban Auckland, in addition to feeding on the fruits and
foliage of many exotic species.
For more info see - http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/new-zealand-pigeon
Tūī are very mobile and are commonly seen in forested, rural and urban areas. In spring, tūī forage on the nectar of a wide range of native plants including kōwhai, rewarewa, pūriri, fuchsia, flax, rātā and pōhutukawa, along with exotics such as brush cherry, various flowering gums and flame trees. Other trees and shrubs, both native and exotic, are important food sources at other times of the year when tūī forage on honeydew, fruits and invertebrates.
For more info see - http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/tui
Kākā are well established and common in the Hunua Ranges, especially in the areas being managed to conserve kōkako, and recently they have bred successfully on Waiheke. Kākā dispersing from Great and Little Barrier Islands are often seen during winter and spring in urban Auckland, but at present they are not known to breed in the urban environment. In recent years, kākā have become quite common in urban Wellington following dispersal from nearby Zealandia (Karori) Sanctuary where they
were re-established following translocation. Their diet consists of invertebrates, seeds, fruit, sap, nectar and pollen from various plant species, with hinau, five-finger and tawa being important food sources . Mammalian pests have varying impacts on kākā. Kākā nest in tree cavities and can coexist with rats, but chicks and nesting females are vulnerable to stoats, while fledged young are very vulnerable to cat predation because they may spend about a week on the ground after they leave the nest. Kākā also compete for food with possums.
For more info see - http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/kaka
Kākāriki nest in cavities, rock crevices, tree trunks and burrows in remnant forest, and replanted forest and grassland on Tiritiri Matangi. The minimum habitat size required for kākāriki is likely 100 ha of forest and mammalian predators should be absent or near absent. Kākāriki spend much time feeding on the ground where they are extremely vulnerable to cat predation. They roost at night in tree cavities where they are also vulnerable to rats and stoats. They forage on a wide range of species including Coprosma spp., rewarewa, pōhutukawa, Muehlenbeckia, kānuka and pūriri. Kākāriki nest in natural cavities in large trees such as pōhutukawa and pūriri. Kākāriki are rare vagrants to mainland Auckland, with occasional sightings in bush remnants and urban gardens in Birkenhead, Torbay and Glenfield, between 15-25km from the presumed source population at Tiritiri Matangi. Kākāriki have been reintroduced to several inner Gulf islands and Tāwharanui.
For more info see - http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/red-crowned-parakeet
Fantails are habitat generalists and one of few native birds found in heavily modified urban environments far from large forest patches. They survive well in forest fragments and plantings in urban parks and large gardens. Fantails are insectivores and well-treed urban environments clearly provide the food resources they need. Fantail nests are vulnerable to predation by ship rats, but fantails produce multiple broods in the one season, so populations can recover quickly following predation.
For more info see -http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/new-zealand-fantail
Invertebrates are preyed upon by birds, rats, hedgehogs, possums, cats and pigs. Wētā in particular are a good indicator species and an abundance of wētā indicates predator control is allowing invertebrates to survive.
While many native skinks, geckos and Tuatara are found in New Zealand, they are uncommon in urban areas due to the abundance of introduced predators and lack of connected habitat.
Native vegetation provides food and habitat for native birds, reptiles and insects, as well as playing an important role in storing carbon and producing oxygen. See the Songbird Ecological Corridors report below for a list of native plant species that are suited to the Eastern Bays.