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 292 species, set by Steve Wood. 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 2019

As per the rules below we only include New Zealand and species found within its political territories.  NEW April 2019 – addition of rules to the top of the list and revision of the diving-petrel found in the NZ subantarctic. The exact taxonomy of this species is not currently resolved, so at this stage Sub-Antarctic (Codfish Is) diving-petrel Pelecanoides exsul? now appears on the list.


  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 New Zealand Birders’ totals 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. A separate New Zealand Birders’ ‘Mainland’ totals list has a slightly different geographical boundary, designed for those who have not ventured beyond the main islands.  The geographical boundary is for Mainland New Zealand – North, South and Stewart Islands – and out to 12 nautical miles.  This would include almost all day pelagics from New Zealand ports, unless these are passing out beyond 12 nautical miles (22.2 km), unlikely for most charter boats. For those wanting to view an image of what this looks like and includes, click here.
  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.). However, birds kept in cages in wild locations, or being ‘road-showed’ such as Sirocco the Kakapo, cannot be counted.
  4. Rehabilitated birds are countable, during release at or near the site from which they were recovered.
  5. Beachcast birds, as long as they are still alive, are countable.
  6. Birds must be seen, hearing calls or song of a species does not count.
  7. Submissions should be honest, accurate and dated. Any entries for species not currently on the “The ‘Official’ New Zealand Birders checklist” (ie. first records) must be verified by the Rare/Unusual Birds Committee of Birds New Zealand (formerly Ornithological Society of New Zealand). Visit their website and the Rare Bird Sightings webpage.
  8. 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 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”

 NameTotalDate SubmittedLast birds seen
*Steve Wood29631 July 2020Pallid cuckoo, Chatham petrel, Chatham snipe
*Brent Stephenson2878 December 2019Laughing gull, Asiatic dowitcher, Northern shoveler
*Sav Saville28420 February 2020Little stint, Pacific (Fork-tailed) swift, tree martin
*Colin Miskelly28029 April 2014Buff-breasted sand, Crested tern
*Igor Debski27714 January 2020Oriental cuckoo, little stint, pallid cuckoo
*Phil Hammond27614 October 2019Northern shoveler, thin-billed prion, little stint
*Brian Bell26324 February 2005 
*David Lawrie2607 October 2019 
*Detlef Davies25628 January 2020Australian wood duck, plumed whistling-duck, broad-billed sandpiper
*Nigel Milius24923 March 2019White-winged tern, Northern shoveler, plumed whistling duck
*Graeme Taylor24723 February 2005 
*Tony Crocker2394 January 2014Auckland Island shag, Subantarctic snipe, Auckland Island teal
*Alan Froggatt23810 October 2019Black kite, erect-crested penguin, Southern brown kiwi
*Ross Silcock (USA)23318 December 2019Grey plover, chestnut-breasted shelduck, Pacific swift
*Phil Hansbro (UK/Australia)22916 April 2007 
*Ian Smith22511 January 2017Wilson's phalarope, Baillon's crake, laughing gull
*Matt Jones22429 December 2017Erect-crested penguin, Northern shoveler, black-tailed nativehen
*Matthias Dehling2247 August 2018Galah, Arctic tern, little egret
*Alan McBride (Australia)22226 April 2006 
*Andrew Crossland22125 March 2015Light-mantled sooty albatross, brown booby, Australian pelican
*Peter Reese2201 March 2005 
*Jon Jackson22028 October 2019 Little stint
*Dion Hobcroft21928 December 2019 Hoary-headed grebe, sanderling, Baillon's crake 
*Wendy Hare21812 May 2010 
*Phil Battley21723 May 2019Antarctic fulmar, black-winged petrel, Chatham petrel
*Russell Cannings21620 March 2019Wood duck, gull-billed tern, hoary-headed grebe
*David Thomas21615 December 2019Pallid cuckoo, little stint, white tern
*Wynston Cooper2144 January 2008 
*Dave Howes21420 August 2020King shag, orange-fronted parakeet, Southern fulmar
*Grahame Brind2139 February 2020Cape Barren goose, grey ternlet, Terek sandpiper
*Harry Boorman2138 August 2020Grey petrel, snowy albatross, Southern fulmar
*Oscar Thomas21316 September 2020 Cape Barren goose, Antarctic fulmar, chukar 
*Nick Allen21221 February 2017Little egret, gull-billed tern
*Alan Collins (UK/Australia)2099 May 2008 
*Jan Walker20718 April 2019Gull-billed tern, hoary-headed grebe, little egret
*Sue Lashko20619 February 2019Fiordland-crested penguin, Southern brown kiwi, South Island saddleback
*Mike Bell20425 January 2007 
*Scott Brooks20411 December 2019Australian wood duck, South Polar skua, shore plover
*Neil Robertson20330 December 2017Black-tailed nativehen, little spotted kiwi, orange-fronted parakeet
*Tania Ireton (Australia)20212 April 2008 
Richard Fenner19915 April 2019Broad-billed sandpiper, grey-backed storm-petrel, Australasian little grebe
Duncan Watson1995 January 2020Hoary-headed grebe, broad-billed sandpiper, Hudsonian godwit
Phil Gregory (Australia)19831 December 2010 
Tony Palliser (Australia)19223 December 2004 
Chris Doughty (Australia)1914 January 2007 
Iain Johnson (UK, previously living   in NZ)19014 March 2011 
George Watola (UK/NZ)19014 January 2015Crested tern, Brown booby
Warwick Allen19017 January 2020White-chinned petrel, gull-billed tern, buff-breasted sandpiper
Fraser Gurney1909 July 2020Gull-billed tern, grey petrel, common greenshank
Kirk Zufelt (Canada)18829 March 2013 
Doug Hanna (USA)18526 January 2013 
Simon Fordham18425 March 2014 
John Kyngdon17814 April 2019New Zealand storm-petrel, little owl, rock wren
Mark McFadden1781 June 2020Little egret, Northern shoveler
Suzi Phillips17718 October 2009 
Zef Brooks (10 years old)17723 November 2019Australian wood duck, cirl bunting, little owl
Peter Carnall17422 September 2009 
Helen Arthurs17023 January 2019Brown skua, galah, Northern shoveler
Philip Crutchley16821 January 2007 
Paul Cuming16514 April 2003 
Jim Moore1647 April 2003 
Chris Cooke16310 October 2017Yellow-crowned parakeet, red-footed booby, whiskered tern
Ollie Brooks (13 years old)16223 November 2019Northern shoveler, New Zealand storm-petrel, far-eastern curlew
Colin Lunt16124 July 2010 
Frank Pierce15328 December 2009 
Jay Brooks (7 years old)15223 November 2019Yellowhead, galah, far-eastern curlew
John Ballantyne15130 May 2005 
Mark Ayre15125 October 2010 
Conori Bell (11 years old)14925 January 2007 
Rob Leslie (Sth Africa)14923 July 2005 
Eric Tull (Canada)13822 March 2006 
Trevor Hardaker (Sth Africa)13716 November 2002 
Brooke Clibbon (Canada)13522 March 2006 
Georges Olioso (France)1321 January 2006 
Simon Plat (Netherlands)1272 March 2005 
Bruce & Yvonne Wedderburn (Australia)1159 February 2008 
Jeremy Crossland10410 October 2006 
Chris & Ro Lester (Australia)10110 January 2008 
Brendan & Ruth McCartney (UK)928 January 2003 
* beside the person's 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

NameTotalDate submitted
Sav Saville25520 February 2020
Igor Debski24914 January 2020
Brent Stephenson2488 December 2019
Matthias Dehling2237 August 2018
Alan Froggatt22310 October 2019
Andrew Crossland22125 March 2015
Colin Miskelly21810 February 2011
Detlef Davies21728 January 2020
Matt Jones21529 December 2017
Nigel Milius21523 March 2019
Russell Cannings21320 March 2019
Grahame Brind2139 Feb 2020
David Thomas21015 December 2019
Ross Silcock (USA/NZ)20718 December 2019
Harry Boorman2078 August 2020
Scott Brooks20411 December 2019
Oscar Thomas20316 September 2020
Graeme Taylor20025 February 2005
Nick Allen20021 February 2017
Neil Robertson2003 January 2018
Phil Battley19423 May 2019
Warwick Allen19017 January 2020
Fraser Gurney1909 July 2020
Iain Johnson (UK, previously living in NZ)18914 March 2011
Wynston Cooper1894 January 2008
Duncan Watson1895 January 2020
Richard Fenner18510 April 2017
Peter Reese1831 March 2005
Mark McFadden1781 June 2020
Zef Brooks (10 years old)17723 November 2019
George Watola (UK/NZ)17014 January 2015
Helen Arthurs17023 January 2019
Paul Cuming16514 April 2003
Jim Moore1647 April 2003
Chris Cooke16310 October 2017
Tim Kastelle & Nancy Pachana (Australia)1621 July 2003
Ollie Brooks (13 years old)16223 November 2019
Philip Crutchley15821 January 2007
Peter Carnall15311 July 2006
Jay Brooks (7 years old)15223 November 2019
Simon Fordham13823 February 2005
Trevor Hardaker (Sth Africa)13716 November 2002
Simon Plat1272 March 2005
Rob Leslie (Sth Africa)12623 July 2005
Bruce & Yvonne Wedderburn (Australia)1159 February 2008
Peter Carnall (Sth Africa)10810 June 2003
Jeremy Crossland (NZ's youngest lister!)10410 October 2006
Brendan & Ruth McCartney (UK)928 January 2003

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

2019 New Zealand Year Listing

NameTotalDate submitted
Warwick Allen18917 January 2020
Harry Boorman18423 December 2019

2018 New Zealand Year Listing

NameTotalDate submitted
Phil Hammond18514 January 2019

2017 New Zealand Year Listing

NameTotalDate submitted
Matthias Dehling2069 December 2017
Igor Debski (this was for Mainland New Zealand only)2069 January 2018
Neil Robertson17330 December 2017

2016 New Zealand Year Listing

NameTotalDate submitted
Phil Hammond2071 January 2017
Matthias Dehling17824 February 2017
Scott Brooks15331 January 2017
Helen Arthurs15331 January 2017
Ollie Brooks (10 years old)15331 January 2017
Zef Brooks (7 years old)15331 January 2017
Jay Brooks (4 years old)14431 January 2017
Neil Robertson11930 December 2017

2015 New Zealand Year Listing

NameTotalDate submitted
Sav Saville2085 January 2016
Russ Cannings1754 January 2016
Neil Robertson17530 December 2017

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

NameTotalDate submitted
Brent Stephenson22012 January 2015
Neil Robertson12630 December 2017

2013 New Zealand Year Listing

NameTotalDate submitted
Brent Stephenson20518 March 2014
Phil Hammond206 (tied with the 2006 record)29 March 2014
Neil Robertson12230 December 2017

2009 New Zealand Year Listing

NameTotalDate submitted
Iain Johnson17615 February 2010
Ross Silcock (USA/NZ)17630 January 2010
Suzi Phillips11318 October 2009
Colin Lunt715 August 2010

2008 New Zealand Year Listing

NameTotalDate submitted
Brent StephensonTBA
Sav Saville18030 December 2008
Russell Cannings (Canada)17229 November 2008
Colin Lunt1115 August 2010

2006 New Zealand Year Listing

Name TotalDate submitted
Brent Stephenson(download PDF list)206 (NEW RECORD)3 January 2007
195 "Mainland NZ"
Sav Saville1933 January 2007
Andrew Crossland1603 January 2007
Colin Lunt895 August 2010

2005 New Zealand Year Listing

NameTotalDate submitted
Roger McNeill - so close but yet so far, Roger managed to get to 199 on 1 Jan!1975 January 2006
Brent Stephenson1862 January 2006
Sav Saville1752 January 2006
Andrew Crossland16714 December 2006
Nigel Milius1464 April 2006

2004 New Zealand Year Listing

Name Total
Brent Stephenson189
Sav Saville182
Nigel Milius171
Andrew Crossland170
NB: the totals in this list may vary as a slightly older version of the checklist was used during the 2004 year list.

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

Version 3.5 (current version)

Released on 12/04/19 with the following revisions

  • addition of the listing rules to the top of the checklist
  • revision of the diving-petrel found in the NZ subantarctic. The exact taxonomy of this species is not currently resolved, so at this stage Sub-Antarctic (Codfish Is) diving-petrel Pelecanoides exsul? now appears on the list.

Version 3.4

Released on 12/01/19 with addition of Herald petrel.

Version 3.3

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