Skip to main content


Wildlife and natural heritage

Kei te rererere nga manu - The birds are flying about

This simple proverb reminds us that when the birds are flying - it is safe. At the slightest sign of danger the birds stop flying and seek refuge. We want Tauranga Harbour to be a safe place for our birds, and all the other flora and fauna that live in it.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council works with community care groups and other organisations to ensure that our Harbour is a safe, healthy environment for all living species.


Tauranga Harbour is home to many birds. Some birds nest and feed in the harbour and others migrate from different places.

You can read the about the Distribution and conservation of shorebirds in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, 1984-2003 on the Department of Conservation website.

Some of the birds found in Tauranga Harbour include:

  • Bittern
  • Spotless Crake 
  • Dabchick 
  • New Zealand Dotterel
  • Fernbird
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Black and Red-billed Gulls
  • White-faced Heron
  • Variable Oystercatcher 
  • Banded Rail
  • Pied Shag
  • Royal Spoonbill
  • Pied Stilt
  • Caspian Tern
  • Wrybill 
  • Pukeko

The Birds of Omokoroa Estuary booklet (7.86MB, pdf) is a helpful guide for identifing local bird life.

Estuary Life

Tauranga Harbour's estuaries are full of life. They are the breeding grounds for some species and the feeding grounds for others. Some of the species in our Harbour include:

  • Flounder
  • Whitebait
  • Kahawai
  • Herring
  • Eels
  • Crabs
  • Clams
  • Shellfish
  • Heart urchins
  • Snails
  • Worms

Watch a Bay of Plenty Times video of marine life in Tauranga Harbour.