Biodiversity

The Southern Lakes Sanctuary contains a diverse range of indigenous fauna including high alpine species, forest birds, braided river birds, wetland birds, bats, and a high diversity of lizards. Among these are many threatened and at-risk species, including 17 species of bird and 5 species of lizard.

By definition, none of these species are safe, and there is a significant risk that several will be lost forever, at current levels of protection. The Southern Lakes Sanctuary will do its upmost to protect all of these species.

Threatened Species

Among the threatened and at-risk taonga found in the Southern Lakes Sanctuary are iconic birds such as the kea, whio and mohua, and rare and elusive lizards such as the orange spotted gecko and grand and Otago skinks. A full list of species that are threatened with extinction that will be protected by efforts of the Southern Lakes Sanctuary is given below.

Birds

Birds

THREATENED – NATIONALLY CRITICAL

Australasian bittern / Matuku Botaurus poiciloptilus
Wetlands: In the Matukituki, Dart and Rees river valleys, Lake Hayes, Matakauri Wetland and Queenstown area. Listen to their birdsong here

Black-billed gull / Larus bulleri
Braided rivers: Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments and lower Shotover. Lakes Wānaka and Wakatipu shorelines.

THREATENED – NATIONALLY ENDANGERED

Kea / Nestor notabilis
Montane indigenous forests and subalpine & alpine zones: Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments, Queenstown area and Richardson Mountains. Listen to the kea birdsong here

Black-fronted tern / Tarapiroe / Chlidonias albostriatus
Breeds in braided riverbeds: Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments and lower Shotover.

Rock wren/ Xenicus gilviventris
High alpine grasslands, shrublands, bare rocks 900-2500m asl: Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments. Listen to the rock wren call here.

THREATENED – NATIONALLY VULNERABLE

Australasian crested grebe / Puteketeke Podiceps cristatus
Lakes: Hayes, Johnson, Wakatipu, Wānaka, Sylvan, Diamond and Hāwea. Listen to the crested grebe birdsong here.

Blue duck / Whio / Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos
Rivers in the Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments. Listen to the blue duck here.

Wrybill / Ngutuparore Anarhynchus frontalis
Breed on braided riverbeds: Makarora, Dart-Rees, Matukituki

Banded dotterel / Tuturiwhatu/ Charadrius bicinctus
Breed on braided riverbeds: Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments and lower Shotover.

AT RISK – DECLINING

South Island pied oystercatcher / Torea Haematopus finschi
Breeds on braided riverbeds: Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments and lower Shotover.

NZ pipit / Pihoihoi / Anthus novaeseelandiae
High alpine grasslands, tall tussock grasslands

South Island robin / Petroica australis australis
Indigenous beech forests: Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments. Listen to the South Island robin here.

Marsh Crake / Porzana pusilla
Wetlands: Lake Hayes, Matukituki

AT RISK – RECOVERING

Mohua / Yellowhead / Mohoua ochrocephala
Indigenous forests in Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments. Listen to the mohua here.

Kākā / Nestor meridionalis
Indigenous forests: Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments. Listen to the kaka here.

NZ falcon / Karearea / Falco novaeseelandiae
Wide variety of habitats, present throughout the Project Area. Listen to the NZ falcon here.

AT RISK – RELICT

Buff weka / Gallirallus australis hectori (subspecies)
Wide variety of habitats, reintroduced to predator-free islands in Lake Wakatipu and Lake Wānaka. Listen to the buff weka here.

Lizards

Lizards

THREATENED – NATIONALLY ENDANGERED

Otago skink / Oligosoma otagense
Schist outcrops including tors and rocky gully systems.

Grand skink / Oligosoma grande
Schist outcrops including tors and rocky gully systems.

THREATENED – NATIONALLY VULNERABLE

Orange spotted gecko / Mokopirirakau 
Alpine boulderfields and screes

Takitimu gecko / Mokopirirakau cryptozoicus
Alpine bluffs, boulderfields, screes and forests at lower altitudes

Nevis skink / Oligosoma toka
Rock piles, river terraces, damp screes, boulderfields, and Dracophyllum shrublands

Bats

Short-tailed bat
Short-tailed bat © Colin O'Donnell / DOC

THREATENED / NATIONALLY CRITICAL

Long Tailed Bat/ Pekapeka / Chalinolobus tuberculatus
Forest and forest margins: Dart-Rees, Makarora Hubs