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© Wynston Cooper

eBird is a free to use online database of bird observations that has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Birds NZ collaborated with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in May 2008 to create the NZ eBird portal.


eBird’s goal is to maximize the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of bird observations made each year by recreational and professional bird watchers. It is amassing one of the largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resources in existence through an impressive international network of eBird users. These observations are then not only available to the wider birding community, but to the global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists. This data is becoming the foundation for a better understanding of bird distribution and abundance across the globe.

You can enter your bird sightings online via the New Zealand portal, or via your smartphone by downloading the eBird app for Android or iOS. The app allows you to enter sightings whilst out in the field and even works in remote areas where there is no service, you’ll just need to upload your sightings when back in service or with WiFi. We encourage birders to raise the scientific value of their sightings by following the ‘Best Practices’ listed on the NZ eBird portal.

The below settings are recommended for using the eBird app in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Show Common names: English (New Zealand)

Show distance in: Kilometres

Portal: New Zealand eBird

New Zealand Bird Atlas
Birds New Zealand recently undertook the third Atlas project, running from 1 June 2019 to 31 May 2024. This five-year project was one of the country’s largest ever citizen science projects with the aim to map the distribution and abundance of New Zealand birds. Wildlife Management International Ltd (WMIL). coordinated the project on behalf of Birds New Zealand and were blown away by the amount of time, effort and dedication put in by not only Birds New Zealand members but the wider community of birders. You can find out more about the Atlas here. The results are still being fully analysed by the Atlas coordination team, but the key stats as of 2 June 2024 were:

Articles from previous Bird Atlas Expeditions are available here. Additional links, media releases and webinars are available on the NZ Bird Atlas Portal. You can also follow us on Facebook to get updates on the Atlas analysis.