Captive Breeding

Tūturuatu/Shore Plover

Seven breeding pairs are on-site.

These breed well, usually 2-3 clutches per pair per year. We hand-rear the first clutch with the parent raising the last. They are released to Motutapu Island.

Birds released in last decade

Whio / Blue Duck

Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos
Conservation Status: Nationally vulnerable

There are one active pair and one breeding pair (not currently producing eggs).

These birds are hand- and parent-raised at Pūkaha before being sent for ‘fast water training’ at Tongariro National Trout Centre. They are then released into the wild around Tongariro/Whanganui.

Birds released in last decade

Kākā / Bush Parrot

Nestor meridionalis
Conservation Status: Recovering

Pūkaha houses two breeding pairs and one foster pair in the aviaries.

All kākā in the reserve were released as part of previous breeding programmes.

We rear North Island and South Island birds, sending a good number of the former to Sanctuary Mountain in the Waikato region– look out for our green-banded birds!

Birds released in last decade


Apteryx mantelli
Conservation status: Declining

We hatch and raise kiwi eggs from our forest as part of the Operation Nest Egg endeavour to help maintain kiwi survival numbers.  These birds are then released into the wild once they have reached 1200 grams.

Since 2019 we have collaborated with various kiwi reserves from around New Zealand, raising their chicks until they are old enough to be returned to where they came from, usually entering a ‘kiwi creche’ on their home turf before entering the wild.

Birds released in last decade

Pāteke / Brown Teal

Anas chlorotis
Conservation Status: Recovering

One breeding pair can be found in the free-flight aviary while the other is off-display, each laying 2-3 clutches each season. This totals around 12-18 duckling per pair.

After being raised at Pūkaha, they are sent down to Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust in Christchurch, where they receive ‘training’ before being released into the wild.

Birds released in last decade


Cyanoramphus spp.
Red Crowned Kākāriki
Conservation status: Relict
Yellow Crowned Kākāriki
Conservation status: Not Threatened
Orange-Fronted Parakeet
Conservation status: Nationally Critical

The red-crowned kākāriki captive breeding programme has been one of our most successful.

In a short number of years, we have raised a large percentage of birds that have gone on to find homes in the wild at places such as Cape Sanctuary.

The orange-fronted and yellow-crowned are new to the breeding agenda.

Birds released in last decade

Kōkako / Blue Wattled Crow

Callaeas wilsoni
Conservation Status: Recovering

The kōkako programme was one of Pūkaha’s largest, with the last release being in 2011.

All wild kōkako in the Pūkaha forest were part of this programme.

Tītipounamu / Rifleman

Acanthisitta chloris
Conservation Status: Not threatened

Although we do not actively breed this tiny endemic bird, we do monitor their breeding in the wild.

We place safe nesting boxes throughout the Pūkaha forest, and informally investigate situations where these boxes are not used.