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 birds, five species of lizards and one bat species.

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 is doing its utmost 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 – Nga Manu

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

 

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 / Pīwauwau / Xenicus gilviventris
Bird of the Year 2022! 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 australis
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.

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

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

THREATENED – NATIONALLY INCREASING

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

 

 

 

AT RISK – DECLINING

Mohua / Yellowhead / Mohoua ochrocephala

Beech forests around Makarora, Greenstone-Caples, Dart, Routeburn catchments. Listen to the mohua here.

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

Banded dotterel / Pohowera / Charadrius bicinctus
Breed inland 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 / Kotoreke / Porzana pusilla
Wetlands: Lake Hayes, Matukituki, Glenorchy lagoon.

Fernbird / Mātātā / Poodytes punctatus
Known only from Glenorchy lagoon and Motatapu.

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

Yellow-crowned parakeet / Kākāriki / Cyanoramphus auriceps

Indigenous forests: Makarora, Matukituki, Greenstone-Caples, Dart-Rees catchments and Bob’s Cove.

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 – Ngārara

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

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

Lakes skink / Oligosoma aff. chloronoton “West Otago”
Lowland or alpine tussock grassland, riverine debris (eroded stone), and screes/talus with woody vegetation, very damp basins and gullies.

AT RISK-DECLINING

Orange-spotted gecko / Mokopirirakau 
Alpine boulderfields and screes

Jewelled gecko / Naultinus gemmeus
Indigenous forests, shrublands, and tussock grasslands

Kawarau gecko / Woodworthia “Cromwell”
Crevices in schist rock or below slabs/ boulders in rocky shrubland

AT RISK-DECLINING

Southern grass skink / Oligosoma aff. polychroma; Clade 5
Wetlands, grassland, shrublands, rocky shrubland/herbfield, screes, tussock, stony river beds and even cities

Southern Alps gecko / Woodworthia “Southern Alps”
Stable bases of scree slopes, rocky river terraces and shattered outcrops in dry sub-alpine

Pallid skink / Oligosoma aff. inconspicuum “pallid”
A variety of habitats from the lowland right up to at least 1825 m (a.s.l)

AT RISK-DECLINING

Short-toed gecko / Woodworthia “southern mini”
Inhabit subalpine habitat between approximately 700 m and 1700 m above sea level, in scree, rocky herbfield, tallus, loose rocks, and creviced bluffs (rarely)

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

Humboldt skink / Oligosoma aff. inconspicuum “Humboldt”
Lowland right up to at least 1825 m (a.s.l) in habitats such as tussocklands, grasslands, scrublands, herbfields, wetlands, and rocky areas (e.g. rocky beaches, shrubland, screes, tallus, vertical rock walls)

AT RISK-DECLINING

Cryptic skink / Oligosoma inconspicuum
Lowland right up to at least 1825 m (a.s.l) in habitats such as tussocklands, grasslands, scrublands, herbfields, wetlands, and rocky areas (e.g. rocky beaches, shrubland, screes, tallus, vertical rock walls)

Eyres skink / Oligosoma repens
Found in rocky shrubland, talus, screes, tussockland and herbfield

Korero gecko / Woodworthia “Otago-large”
Inhabit beech forest, podocarp/hardwood forests, rocky grasslands, and rocky alpine areas up to 1300m

Bats – Pekapeka

Long-tailed Bat by Grant Maslowski
Long-tailed Bat by Grant Maslowski

THREATENED / NATIONALLY CRITICAL

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

Invertebrates

Invertebrates – kopaki

THREATENED – NATIONALLY ENDANGERED

Southern Alps giant wētā /Deinacrida pluvialis
Rocky, alpine/subalpine shrublands and grassland. Matukituki Hub