New Zealand Fairy Tern / Tara-iti

With a population of fewer than 40 birds and including a four year average (2009-2012) of just 9 breeding pairs, Sternula nereis davisae, the New Zealand fairy tern, (NZFT) is New Zealand's rarest endemic breeding bird.

Junior Page


The first chick for the 2011-2012 season.
It hatched at the Waipu Wildlife Refuge on 2 Dec. 2011.

Photo: Alison McDonald


Can you find the one-egg nest?

This bird's partner is sitting on their nest. She is so well camouflaged he can hardly find her to give
her this fish. Can  you find her?


  39 fairy terns have been seen since the beginning of April! 


  Check out the News page for this season's updates!


Weather plays a big part in the lives of NZ fairy tern!


A view of Mangawhai Sandspit after a week of rain. The north valley, south valley and south sea valley NZ fairy tern breeding sites are all flooded…..


Photo taken on July 13, 2014 by Christine Silvester


…..the good news is that the flooding has now receded from the breeding sites.


North Island Colgate Games 2014


Amateur athletes from all over the North Island wore t-shirts with New Zealand fairy terns on them at the Games. That is over 1000 young people who we hope will ask questions about New Zealand's rarest endemic breeding bird!


Here is the cool picture !

Thanks to our patron, Audrey Williams, for getting this project into flight!


The games were held in Whangarei from January 10 to 12 at ASB Stadium.


Did you know?



Did you know that New Zealand fairy tern (NZFT) adults, chicks and eggs in nests are so well camouflaged that you might step on an egg or a chick without even knowing?






Photographs and text on this page were kindly donated by PJ Pridham and Rangi Zimmerman who created a wonderful and informative

NZFT calendar for 2010. Abby Meagher created the characters on

this page while she was working for DOC. Download Abby's fun fairy

tern children's activity sheet Click here