Birders’ Totals

This page has been set up as a bit of a fun way of ‘challenging’ each other. Many birders keep a list of species they see, and this page is designed along the lines of the list run by Tony Palliser in Australia and the various listings including the SA 700 Club run by Zest for Birds in South Africa. Anyone can submit a list total by emailing Brent Stephenson. Even if you feel you have a small list, submit it anyway.

The initiation of a 200 Club has occurred, with those birders who have supplied a list of 200 species for New Zealand being included. A list of 200 species in New Zealand is a great target for birders to aim at, and takes a fair bit of time to achieve. With the recent increase in people submitting lists, we now have a staggering total for New Zealand of 290 species, set by Steve Wood. Steve just took the crown back off Brent in early 2016, and then added another few great birds during a trip to the Kermadecs in April 2016, widening the gap! Colin Miskelly is not yet out of the race, and hot on his heels is Sav Saville, Phil Hammond and Igor Debski.  All have overtaken Brian Bell, who for a long-time headed the list with a list of 263 that seemed so far out of our reach. Many New Zealand and overseas birders will know of Brian and his impressive lifetimes work with New Zealand birds, and we are saddened by his passing in late 2016. With the year all but over a flurry of vagrants including a Wilson’s phalarope, NZ’s first laughing gull, and an Asiatic dowitcher have all sent birders scurrying around the land!  There have been several revisions of the New Zealand list we use, and likely to be a seemingly widely accepted split of the Stewart Island shag in the next month or so. Birders in the 200 Club are shown in bold in the list below and have an * beside their name.

With the advent of books such as ‘The Big Year’ by Mark Obmascik, year listing has become a more popular birding phenomenon. So we have started a set of ‘Year listing’ tables as well. Hopefully this will gain momentum amongst both NZ and oversea birders, although there seems to be less interest in this.  Currently the total of 220 species seen by Brent in 2015 stands as the current year list record.

Revised list now available as of April 2017

In keeping with the release of the long awaited fourth edition of the Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica we have revised our ‘Official’ list. As per the rules below we only include New Zealand and species found within its political territories.  NEW APRIL 2017 – feral introductions that have caused much consternation, wailing and gnashing of teeth over the last few years have now been removed.  No more feral chooks!


  1. The Checklist to be used in this exercise is “The ‘Official’ New Zealand Birders checklist”. The list can be downloaded as a PDF version here.
  2. The geographical boundary for the list is defined as mainland New Zealand, offshore islands (all sub-antarctics and Chathams, not including Macquarie Island or Norfolk Island), its territories or anywhere within the 200 NM limit.
  3. All species counted should be seen alive and in the wild (island populations are countable including all species on Tiritiri Matangi, Kapiti Island, Ulva Island, etc.). Beachcast birds, as long as they are still alive, are countable.
  4. Birds must be seen, hearing calls or song of a species does not count.
  5. Submissions should be honest, accurate and dated. Any entries for species not currently on the New Zealand checklist must be verified by the Rare/Unusual Birds Committee of the OSNZ.
  6. Entries shall not be made without permission from the owner.

The ‘Official’ New Zealand Birders checklist can be downloaded here as a formatted PDF ‘checklist’. This list is also available in other formats, please email Brent. This list is bound to stimulate some discussion, so forward your comments and criticisms to us by email.

This checklist is for personal use, please do not use it commercially or post on any other website. If you would like to do so, then please contact us first.

New Zealand Birders’ totals list

Based on NZ’s political boundaries and outlined in “The ‘Official’ New Zealand Birders checklist”

  * beside the persons name in the table above signifies they are members of the 200 Club

There’s plenty of room so email your submissions in…

New Zealand Birders’ ‘Mainland’ totals list

Mainland New Zealand only (and ‘close’ offshore islands) to within 12 nautical miles

Name Total Date submitted
Sav Saville 252 28 December 2017
Brent Stephenson 247 7 April 2017
Tim Barnard 247 28 December 2016
Igor Debski 245 9 January 2018
Paul Godolphin 229 5 April 2017
Andrew Crossland 221 25 March 2015
Colin Miskelly 218 10 February 2011
Detlef Davies 215 6 June 2017
Matt Jones 215 29 December 2017
Matthias Dehling 210 9 December 2017
Nigel Milius 207 28 March 2014
Ross Silcock (USA/NZ) 205 30 January 2018
Russell Cannings 204 4 February 2017
Alan Froggatt 203 26 September 2017
Graeme Taylor 200 25 February 2005
Nick Allen 200 21 February 2017
Neil Robertson 200 3 January 2018
Grahame Brind 194 27 January 2018
Iain Johnson (UK, previously living in NZ) 189 14 March 2011
Wynston Cooper 189 4 January 2008
Richard Fenner 185 10 April 2017
Peter Reese 183 1 March 2005
David Thomas 181 22 October 2017
Scott Brooks 176 15 January 2018
Mark McFadden 171 31 March 2015
George Watola (UK/NZ) 170 14 January 2015
Helen Arthurs 169 15 January 2018
Paul Cuming 165 14 April 2003
Jim Moore 164 7 April 2003
Chris Cooke 163 10 October 2017
Tim Kastelle & Nancy Pachana (Australia) 162 1 July 2003
Zef Brooks (7 years old) 161 15 January 2018
Ollie Brooks (10 years old) 160 15 January 2018
Philip Crutchley 158 21 January 2007
Peter Carnall 153 11 July 2006
Jay Brooks (4 years old) 152 15 January 2018
Simon Fordham 138 23 February 2005
Trevor Hardaker (Sth Africa) 137 16 November 2002
Simon Plat 127 2 March 2005
Rob Leslie (Sth Africa) 126 23 July 2005
Bruce & Yvonne Wedderburn (Australia) 115 9 February 2008
Peter Carnall (Sth Africa) 108 10 June 2003
Jeremy Crossland (NZ's youngest lister!) 104 10 October 2006
Brendan & Ruth McCartney (UK) 92 8 January 2003

There’s plenty of room so email your submissions in…

2017 New Zealand Year Listing

2016 New Zealand Year Listing

2015 New Zealand Year Listing

2014 New Zealand Year Listing – NEW NEW ZEALAND YEAR LIST RECORD

2013 New Zealand Year Listing

2009 New Zealand Year Listing

2008 New Zealand Year Listing

2006 New Zealand Year Listing

2005 New Zealand Year Listing

2004 New Zealand Year Listing

NB. the totals in this list may vary as a slightly older version of checklist was used during the 2004 year list.

History of “The ‘Official’ New Zealand Birders checklist”

Version 3.3 (current version)

Released on 07/04/17 with just a single non-coloured version released

  • Removal of feral introductions from the list, including golden pheasant, red-legged and grey partridge, helmeted guineafowl, feral chicken, northern bobwhite, and red-vented bulbul.
  • Splitting Stewart Island shag into Otago shag and Foveaux shag based on recent research.

Version 3.2

Released on 07/01/17 with just a single non-coloured version released

  • Change of status of Australian wood duck from Vagrant non-breeder to Rare Native following breeding near Nelson in 2015/2016.
  • Addition of dusky woodswallow (Sept 2014), red-footed booby (Mar/Apr 2016), and laughing gull (Dec 2016) following first records of these birds in New Zealand.

Future splits to come in next version

  • Split of Stewart Island shag into Foveaux shag and Otago shag based on published information

Version 3.1

Released in Aug 2015

  • Addition of buff-breasted sandpiper

Version 3.0

Released on 19/03/14 with just a single non-coloured version released

Version 2.1

Released on 20/10/10 – both coloured and non-coloured versions released

  • Addition of straw-necked ibis
  • For barn owl change of colour to Native (pink) in colour version and change Nb to Na in both versions

Version 2.0

Released on 29/09/10 – non-coloured version also released

  • Ringed plover and Brolga removed
  • Antipodean and Gibson’s albatross lumped as New Zealand albatross
  • Buller’s and Pacific albatross lumped as Buller’s albatross
  • New Zealand storm-petrel changed to Pealeornis maoriana
  • Spelling of Moseley’s rockhopper penguin corrected
  • Spelling of chukar corrected
  • Status of barn owl changed to Native
  • Split tomtit into North Island and South Island tomtit
  • Split robins  into North Island and South Island robin
  • Split saddlebacks into North Island and South Island saddleback

Version 1.1

Released on 02/04/05 – non-coloured version also released

  • Border around ‘Northern pintail’ removed
  • ‘ Status’ colour coding changed
  • Extra ‘Status’ column added to include information on whether the species is endemic (En), native (Na), introduced (In), or a non-breeding migrant/straggler/vagrant (Nb)
  • Addition of two extinct species – Stead’s bush wren and Iredale’s (Stewart Island) snipe – due to one Lister having seen these species before their extinction
  • Mention made in the text at the start of the list that birds must be seen to be included. Birds cannot be included if only heard
  • Tentative inclusion of Australian reed warbler on the list pending acceptance by the OSNZ RBC
  • Changed Gould’s petrel, P. leucoptera, to New Caledonian petrel, P. caledonica, as records in New Zealand almost certainly represent that species
  • Black-fronted tern genus changed from Chlidonias to Sterna
  • Red-crowned parakeet changed to endemic following specific separation of New Caledonian and Norfolk Island populations from New Zealand mainland populations
  • Addition of Hochstetter’s parakeet, C. hochstetteri, as above
  • Split red-billed gull, L. scopulinus, from silver gull, L. novaehollandiae, and therefore relegated to endemic
  • Golden pheasant added to the list – feral population breeding on Aroha Island

Version 1.0

Released on 23/02/05