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Tarapiroe - black fronted tern (BFT)

While the terns are busy nesting, we’re extolling their virtues in the Bird of the Century battle.
This pretty, small grey bird is a joy to watch in flight.
Look across the river, you’ll see it hawking for fish and insects.
It has a bold orange beak and feet.
And wears a black cap.
But is virtually unknown.
Voting will raise its profile
Please support the campaign by sharing this page or poster on social media: #BirdOfTheYear #BFT
Tell friends and family.
And vote (you can choose five birds)!
Voting ends 12th November.

All about us...

We breed on South Island braided rivers; some of us may migrate to the North Island in winter.

We’re  very chatty as we hawk along the river, diving like a Spitfire when we spot lunch (insects, small fish).

We always return to the same river to nest each year. We usually lay two eggs, but sometimes three, and both mum and dad share incubation for 25 days.

We’re feisty, quick to identify intruders, and we peck heads with accuracy. (We’re the only river bird that attacks humans).

After nesting, we feed along the coast, and sometimes in paddocks.

But we’re in trouble…

Because we nest on the ground, many of us are killed each year by Norway rats, feral cats, and stoats.

We have a habit of abandoning our nests if disturbed. A rabbit coming close could be enough.

Sometimes our nests are drowned when rivers flood.

Weed growth in rivers and loss of braiding have reduced good nesting habitat.


Why vote for us?

Nobody seems to know about us!  Let’s boost our profile. Many people will have seen us but don’t recognise us, and we’re in serious trouble as our numbers are dropping.

A vote for us supports more predator control, more work to care for the rivers that we rely on, and environmental policies to stop more of our other native birds from becoming extinct.