Dads doing their bit for conservation

Department of Conservation —  04/09/2022

To celebrate Father’s Day, we look at a few dads doing their bit for conservation…

1. Our iconic kiwi


Northland brown kiwi dad sitting on his nest.

When it comes to our national bird the kiwi, the dads are usually the ones sitting on the nest. Brown and little spotted kiwi dads look after the egg for the entire time, while in other species of kiwi the mum will also take a turn. This is a big job, with kiwi egg incubation taking 70 or 80 days – twice as long as other birds.

2. Archery’s frogs/pepeketua


Archey’s frog dad and his little froglet. © Martin Hunter

Archey’s frogs don’t have a tadpole stage instead they develop inside an egg, and then hatch as (almost fully-formed) froglets. The babies are cared for by dad – the male Archey’s frog carries his young offspring around on his back straight after they’re born.

3. Hoiho/yellow-eyed penguin

Hoiho/yellow-eyed penguin nest. Photo: YEP Trust

Yellow-eyed penguin parents take turns sitting on the nest, and take turns guarding their chicks for six weeks after they hatch too.

4. Seahorse/manaia

Large-bellied seahorses. Photo: Island Bay Marine Centre

Seahorse dads give birth to their young. Mum will deposit her eggs into his pouch and he’ll give birth 40-50 days later, delivering up to 500 seahorse babies called ‘fry’!

5. Whio/blue duck


Whio/blue duck mum and dad with their six ducklings. Photo: Tyrone Smith

In many duck species dads don’t help incubate their eggs, mum does all of the hard yards. This isn’t the case with our native whio/blue ducks though, with dad taking turns sitting on the nest, and sticking with their family for two or three months afterwards until their chicks are big enough to fend for themselves.

6. Northern royal albatross/toroa

Our 2017 Royalcam chick Tūmanako’s dad did a good job too, which is lucky considering his parenting was streamed live! Check out this year’s live stream and if you’re lucky you might see a tasty regurgitated seafood meal. Yum.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there!

3 responses to Dads doing their bit for conservation


    Fascinating about the Whio/blue duck staying on to help raise the ducklings- most ducks I know of here in the US are the kind where the dad leaves early on. I’ll have to check and see if there’s an exception to that trend in N. America among the duck world here


    I’m going to share this with my 8 year old tonight… it will blow her mind! Ka pai!


    They would have to be some of the most handsome Dads I’ve seen! LOL.