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Birds of the Braided River

From the river valleys on the eastern side of the Park, large flat braided riverbeds have been formed. These riverbeds are constantly changing, with rainfall in the mountains washing shingle and debris down. Many special birds live in the riverbeds either for the whole year or on a seasonal basis.

While walking down these riverbeds as part of a tramp you are likely to see many different species of birds.

The Paradise Shelduck pair up for life and are often seen. The male has a black head and the female has a white head, both have a very noisy call.

Large Black-backed Gulls also inhabit these inland valleys throughout the year. A fairly recent arrival on the river flats is the Spur-winged Plover, an Australian immigrant easily recognised by the bright yellow colour of its bill and face wattles. Common too are Brown Harrier Hawks, a familiar sight along the highway as they glide thermal currents, perch on fence-posts or pick at the carcasses of the wildlife road-toll.

Regular migrant beeders arrive in spring and these include South Island Pied Oystercatchers, Black-fronted Terns, Banded Dotterels and Canada Geese. The Oystercatchers (August-December) arrive and depart earlier than the terns (September-January), both breeding only on the inland riverbeds and lake shores of the eastern South Island high country, after which they return to the coasts. The oystercatchers, terns and dotterels usually nest in a gravel scrape in the riverbed. They are very susceptable to summer floods. After beeding here they rejoin other birds down on the coast , and some may then migrate as far away as Australia.

Canada Geese are the largest bird of the summer migrants, breeding in grassy valleys and near high country lakes, before they return to lowland lakes for the winter.

CHECKLIST

Native Species...

Banded Dotterel
Banded Dotterel
Black-backed Gull
Black-backed Gull
Black-fronted Tern
Black-fronted Tern
Paradise Shelduck
Paradise Shelduck
S.I. Pied Oystercatcher
S.I. Pied Oystercatcher
White faced Heron
White faced Heron
Wrybill
Wrybill

Introduced Species...

Spur-winged Plover
Spur-winged Plover
Canada Goose
Canada Goose

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