Native plants and shrubs are the best way to attract native birds to your garden.
They can provide shelter, food, and nesting places in your backyard. Any garden can be made more attractive to wildlife, even if it is only small.
Some things to consider when planting native trees and shrubs to attract native birds include:
- Grow native trees and shrubs that provide nectar, seeds, or berries.
- Choose a range of native plants so your garden provides food all-year-round.
- Group plants in mixed communities to provide diverse habitats.
- Grow plants that vary in height.
- Allow leaf litter to accumulate to attract insects for birds to feed on.
- Create a "wild" area that is not disturbed often for birds to use for nesting.
Keeping birds safe
Before you start feeding native birds, it is important to make sure your backyard is a safe place for them to visit.
- Set traps to control introduced predators like rats, stoats, and possums.
- Keep your cat inside, particularly at night.
- Put any feed stations well out of reach of introduced predators.
- Clean your feeder regularly to avoid the spread of disease.
- Provide water, particularly in summer, so birds are able to stay hydrated.
What do native birds eat?
Native birds that you are likely to attract to your garden prefer to eat fruit, nectar, insects, and foliage. Common species and their preferred food are:
|Kererū (wood pigeon)||✓||✓|
|Riroriro (grey warbler)||✓|
Whenever you are planting natives, make sure they are eco-sourced. This means they occur naturally in your area, or seeds have been taken from a local variation.
|Scientific name||Common name||Food provided|
|Alectryon excelsus||Tītoki||Fruit and seeds|
|Alseuosmia macrophylla||Toropapa or karapapa||Nectar, fruit, and seeds|
|Aristotelia serrata||Makomako (wineberry)||Fruit and seeds|
|Beilschmiedia tarairi||Taraire||Fruit and seeds|
|Beilschmiedia tawa||Tawa||Fruit and seeds|
|Carpodetus serratus||Putaputawētā (marbleleaf)||Fruit and seeds|
|Coprosma grandifolia*||Kanono or raurēkau||Fruit and seeds|
|Shiny karamū||Fruit and seeds|
|Coprosma robusta*||Karamū||Fruit and seeds|
|Cordyline australis||Tī kōuka (cabbage tree)||Nectar, fruit, and seeds|
|Corynocarpus laevigatus*||Karaka||Fruit and seeds|
|Dacrycarpus dacrydioides||Kahikatea (white pine)||Fruit and seeds|
|Dacrydium cupressinum*||Rimu (red pine)||Fruit and seeds|
|Eleocarpus dentata||Hīnau||Fruit and seeds|
|Fuchsia excorticata*||Kōtukutuku (tree fuschia)||Nectar, fruit, and seeds|
|Hedycarya aborea*||Porokaiwhiri (pigeonwood)||Fruit and seeds|
|Hoheria populnea||Houhere (lacebark)||Nectar|
|Knightia excelsa||Rewarewa (New Zealand honeysuckle)||Nectar|
|Macropiper excelsum*||Kawakawa||Fruit and seeds|
|Melicope ternate||Whārangi||Fruit and seeds|
|Melicytus ramiflorus*||Māhoe (whitey wood)||Fruit and seeds|
|Metrosideros excelsa||Pōhutukawa||Nectar, fruit, and seeds|
|Metrosideros fulgens||Akatea (climbing rātā)||Nectar|
|Metrosideros perforata||Akatea or akatorotoro (white climbing rātā)||Nectar|
|Metrosideros robusta||Northern rātā||Nectar|
|Myrsine australis||Māpou||Fruit and seeds|
|Passiflora tetrandra||Kohia (New Zealand passion flower)||Fruit|
|Phormium tenax||Harakeke (flax)||Nectar|
|Pittosporum crassifolium||Karo, kaikaro, or kīhihi||Nectar, fruit, and seeds|
|Pittosporum eugenoides*||Tarata (lemonwood)||Nectar, fruit, and seeds|
|Pittosporum tenuifolium||Kōhūhū, kohukohu, tawhiwhi||Nectar, fruit, and seeds|
|Podocarpus totara*||Tōtara||Fruit and seeds|
|Prumnopitys ferruginea||Miro||Fruit and seeds|
|Pseudopanax aboreus*||Puahou or whauwhaupaku (five finger)||Fruit and seeds|
|Pseudopanax crassifolius||Horoeka (lancewood)||Fruit and seeds|
|Pseudopanax lesonii||Houpara||Fruit and seeds|
|Rhabdothamnus solandri||Taurepo, matata or waiuatua||Nectar|
|Rhopalostylis sapida||Nīkau||Fruit and seeds|
|Schefflera digitata*||Patē (seven finger)||Fruit and seeds|
|Solanum aviculare||Poroporo||Fruit and seeds|
|Vitex lucens||Puriri||Nectar, fruit, and seeds|
* Species for which several individuals may need to be planted to ensure fruiting.
This guide was originally created by Forest & Bird's Central Auckland Branch.