Photo of the week: New Zealand fairy tern

Department of Conservation —  29/10/2014

Today’s photo of the week features the New Zealand fairy tern to mark the start of the all-important breeding season for this endangered seabird.

With a population of around 45 individuals, the fairy tern is probably New Zealand’s rarest indigenous breeding bird.

New Zealand fairy tern. Photo © Malcolm Pullman.

Fairy terns nest in four Northland Wildlife Refuges: Waipu, Mangawhai, Pakiri, and Papkanui Spit; and are extremely vulnerable while nesting.

With the upcoming summer influx of visitors to Northland’s beaches DOC has issued a reminder about the laws protecting these birds.

Photo copyright Malcolm Pullman.


5 responses to Photo of the week: New Zealand fairy tern


    Awesome photo!

    EricColbert 31/10/2014 at 9:16 pm

    There are so many indiginous animals in New Zealand that are endangered and some more exotic and pretty than the tern. It’s said to think that if we don’t do something more about preservation of these animals, that the only way the next generation can find out about them is from books hidden away in storage lockers. A SAD thought through and through.


    Thanks. I’ve contacted Malcolm. Shona


    Kia ora fairy tern protectors.

    I would like to request permission to use this fairy tern image for Tourism NZ media website. We have the below story about fairy terns but no photo to use with it. I would alos appreciate expert feedback on the content as well. See:

    Kind regards, Shona