Eagles Nest Birds - Eagles Nest
Kiwi at Eagles Nest, Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Eagles Nest Birds

Eagles Nest is proud to be home to many of New Zealand’s unique and at risk birdlife.

The special geography and location of Russell has meant that ongoing predator control has shown amazing results. We take seriously our responsibility to the environment. By creating as little impact as possible on our many acres of native bush and working closely with groups such as the Predator Free Russell and Project Island Song, we aim to encourage our unique residents to flourish and continue the repopulation of the Bay of Islands with many more of its beloved winged inhabitants.

North Island Brown Kiwi

New Zealand’s best known and iconic bird, the Kiwi is a well loved oddity. Flightless, nocturnal and laying the largest egg for its size in the world, these remarkable birds live within Eagles Nest’s 75 acre property. Kiwi were hit hard by the introduction of pests including rats and stoats and they currently number just 8000 in the Northland area. Happily, Kiwi are resilient and have responded well to repopulation and pest eradication projects and numbers are once again on the increase.

At Eagles Nest, we have introduced our Kiwi houses, cosy wooden boxes designed to simulate a burrow and easily allow the Kiwi to rest, nest and defend itself if necessary. The boxes are also designed with a small viewing window meaning that monitoring can be done easily without any disturbance to the birds.

Guided Kiwi Walks

For the best chance to see these unique flightless birds, our guests are welcome to take a self-guided or guided walk along the Eagles Nest trails after dark to hear and see the kiwi calling. Each villa is equipped with a ‘Kiwi Kit’ with red-light torches to guide the way, as the red lights don’t bother the kiwi. Eagles Nest offers a guided kiwi walk experience lasting approximately an hour to an hour and a half, with the proceeds going towards keeping our kiwi habitat predator free.

North island Weka

Lesser known and even rarer than its kiwi cousin, at present The North Island Weka only remain on mainland New Zealand in a handful of locations, Eagles Nest being one of them. Many of our guests have easily mistaken this timid, flightless bird for the nocturnal kiwi though as they are active during the day, they are in fact much easier to spot! Weka were believed to have disappeared altogether from the Russell peninsular as early as the 1940s. In 2002, following a widespread predator eradication programme, 39 Weka were released in the area. The Weka quickly moved around and have happily called Eagles Nest home ever since.

We are very proud of the fact that we are one of the few places in the whole of New Zealand where the true evening chorus of the Kiwi, Weka and Morepork can be heard outside from the comfort of any of our villas.

The Little Blue Penguin

The Blue Penguin or Korora are widespread around the coast of New Zealand. They are the smallest of all penguins weighing just one kilogram on average and spend their days swimming the oceans, eating fish, squid and crustaceans, only coming ashore at night to sleep and nest.  The Blue Penguin holds a special place in the history of Russell in particular, with Kororareka, her Maori name meaning Sweet Penguin. They are frequently spotted in the Bay of Islands. Happily, penguin numbers are very healthy in the area and this is especially helped by the constant control of stoats and rats, who are well known to kill nesting parents and chicks.

The Eagles Nest beaches are home to many of these gorgeous little birds, and for several years now we have placed Penguin boxes along the shore line to provide shelter and nesting places that are used year round.