Pukekura Park is famous for its large variety of native and introduced trees which in turn attract many species of resident and visiting birds. Some birds commonly seen include tui, kereru (New Zealand Wood pigeon), sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, thrush, wax eyes, ducks, and shags. For a few weeks a year a few visiting kaka (forest parrots) can be heard or seen. Bird surveys have revealed up to 18 different species of birds can be seen in one hour.
Kereru (New Zealand Wood Pigeon)
Pukekura Park has three species of introduced Australian frogs: Brown tree frog/ Whistling tree frog (Litoria ewingii), Southern Bell Frog (Litoria raniformis) and Green and Golden Bell frog (Litoria aurea).
All species of frogs call to attract mates at certain times of the year. Brown tree frog’s high pitched call can be heard during most calm nights. The other two species are only heard calling from the lakes and ponds during certain days in November and December.
Pukekura Park is believed to have a variety of New Zealand skinks and geckos. Sightings are rare given there secretive lifestyles and for some nocturnal habits. One of the geckos that has been seen on more than one occasion is the Taranaki Gold-Stripe Gecko (Hoplodactylus chrysosireticus).
Gold-Stripe Gecko. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.
Pukekura Park does not have a large variety of fish living within its waterways. This is largely to do with several man-made structures preventing upstream migration of fish. Species known from surveys to live in the park include eels, banded kokopu, goldfish and perch. Large schools of goldfish can be seen on sunny days particulary in the large lakes and a few large eels still remain. The famous Pukekura Park Great Eel Hunt was stopped in 2001 to allow eel stocks to improve due to dwindling numbers.
Fernery Display House Goldfish.
Pukekura Park like other areas in New Zealand has a variety of introduced mammals. These are rarely encountered given their mostly nocturnal habits. Hedgehogs are one of the more likely to be encountered during an evening or early morning stroll.
Invertebrates (creepy crawlies)
The park contains a large variety of small animals that can be heard or seen. From noisy cicadas to beautiful butterlies to glow insects (glow worms). Two of the more famous creepy crawlies are glow worms and freshwater crayfish, both have had student videos made about them.
Native Leaf Veined Slug. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.