Exotic Introduced Plants That Attract NZ Native Birds
NZ native birds create that special dimension to New Zealand gardens that are typically a combination of both New Zealand native plants and exotic introduced plants. It’s good to encourage more planting of New Zealand native plants, but we would be missing a wealth of useful and beautiful plants if we just planted native plants, so there is a compromise position that can be reached that incorporates both native and introduced plants that can create a glorious combination that most gardeners are striving for.
NZ native birds are attracted to the introduced plants listed below. These plants also attract many introduced birds that can be fascinating to watch.
Consider planting some of the introduced plants listed below or some of our native plants that attract New Zealand native birds listed here. If you want to attract NZ Native Birds to your garden.
Nectar,Fruit &/Or Seed
|Canna lily (red)||Canna||to 1.2m||N|
|Cosmos annual||Cosmos bipinnatus||50cm+||S|
|French marigold annual||Tagetes patula||30cm||S|
|Lavender (various)||Lavendula spica||E||50cm+||S|
|Love-lies-bleeding annual||Amaranthus caudatus||to 1m||S|
|Phygelius (sub-shrub)||Phygelius aequalis||E||1m||N|
|Red hot poker (various)||Kniphofia||1m+||N|
|Sunflower (giant) annual||Helianthus annuus||1m+||S|
|Banksia (various)||Banksia||E||to 8m||N|
|Bastard jasmine||Cestrum purpureum||E||3m||N|
|Bottlebush (various)||Callistemon||E||to 5m||N|
|Brazilian coral tree||Erythrina crista-galli||D||5m+||N|
|Chinese holly*||Mahonia lomariifolia||E||3m||N,F|
|Coral tree||Erythrina sykesii||D||15m||N|
|Crab apple||Malus||D||to 5m||F|
|Eucalyptus (various)||Eucalyptus||E||to 15m||N|
|Firewheel tree||Stenocarpus sinuatus||E||6m+||N|
|Grevillea (various)||Grevillea||E||60cm to 3m+||N|
|Irish strawberry tree||Arbutus||E||3m+||F|
|Phoenix palm||Phoenix canariensis||E||6m+||F|
|Shad bush||Amelanchier canadensis||D||4m||F|
|Peruvian guava||Psidium cattleianum||E||6m||F|
|Taiwan cherry*||Prunus campanulata||D||6m+||N,F|
|Tree lucerne||Cytisus proliferus||E||3m+||Leaves|
|Chilean bell flower||Lapageria rosea||E||5m||N|
There’s a number of both introduced and native plants species that can be grown in containers or hanging baskets to attract NZ native birds.
The diet of common NZ native birds are:
Bellbird - nectar,fruit, insects
Fantail – insects
Kaka – nectar, fruit, insects
Kingfisher – insects, small rodents, lizards
Morepork – insects, small rodents, lizards, birds
Tui – nectar, fruit, insects
Silver/White/Waxeye - nectar, fruit, insects
You can see from the list above many common NZ native birds eat insects, so consider creating habitats for insects by using natural mulches such as bark, compost, relocate leaves that pile up up unwanted places, a thin layer of lawn clippings ( around 25mm thick each time you mow, if you make a layer of lawn clipping too thick it can develop a putrid smell ).
Mulching has the added advantages of acting like a blanket so reducing weeding, and trapping moisture and warmth in the soil.
Consider bird saftey
If you have a bird bath try to have it away from cover where a cat may hide for a quick ambush attack.
Nesting & roosting
As well as growing suitable plants that attract and feed NZ native birds, they also need nesting and roosting trees nearby, so if you’ve got the space consider planting some of the larger trees.
Warning- Try to avoid planting Rhododendron near your nectar plants, especially if the flower colour is similar, because Rhododendron are deadly poisonous to Tui and other nectar feeding birds. The bird rescue service have to deal with Tui that have been poisoned by Rhododendron each year.
So see if you can create a wonderful garden teaming with NZ native birds for you and your loved ones to enjoy, with some of the plants listed above.