Planting to attact Birds

The following is a list of native and introduced trees, shrubs and plants that may attract birds to your garden or farm. Also included are a number of links to other sites with additional information about some of the plants listed. (The list is alphabetical by common name)
E = Evergreen, D = Deciduous
Native Plants/Trees/Shrubs
Cabbage tree, Curtis
Five finger, unknown artist
flax, Curtis
fuchsia, Cheeseman
Curtis, Karaka
Sarah Featon, Tarata
Kowhai, Curtis
Nikau palm, Curtis
Curtis Pohutukawa
Puriri, Cheeseman
Rewarewa, Cheeseman
Common Name Botanical Name E/D Height Bird Visitors
Tecomanthe Tecomanthe speciosa E 5 metres Tui
Introduced Plants/Trees/Shrubs
Aloe, Curtis
Aloe, Curtis
Aloe, Curtis
Curtis Canna lily
Curtis Cosmos annual
Curtis Kangaroo paw
Common Name Botanical Name E/D Height Bird Visitors
French marigold annual Tagetes patula  30 cm finches
Lavender (various) Lavendula spica E 50 cm+ finches
Love-lies-bleeding annual Amaranthus caudatus to 1metre finches
Phygelius (sub-shrub) Phygelius aequalis 1 metre bellbird
Red hot poker, Curtis
Sunflower, Curtis
Curtis Banksia
Curtis Bottlebush
Curtis Brazilian coral tree
Curtis Camellia
Common Name Botanical Name E/D Height Bird Visitors
Bastard jasmine Cestrum purpureum E 3 metres Tui, bellbird
Chinese lantern  Abutilon E 2 metres + Tui, bellbird
Chinese holly* Mahonia lomariifolia E 3 metres variety of birds
Coral tree Erythrina sykesii D 15 metres variety of birds
Crab apple, Curtis
Elderberry, Curtis
Curtis Eucalyptus
Common Name Botanical Name E/D Height Bird Visitors
Firewheel tree Stenocarpus sinuatus E 6 metres variety of birds
Grevillea (various) Grevillea E to 3 metres variety of birds
Mulberry Morus nigra D 5 metres variety of birds
Phoenix palm Phoenix canariensis E 6 metres variety of birds
Taiwan cherry*  Prunus campanulata D 6 metres + Tui, bellbird
Chilean bell flower Lapageria rosea E 5 metres  bellbird
Oriental strawberry tree, Curtis
Shad bush, Curtis
Curtis Tree lucerne
Curtis Waratah
Plants that may be a threat to birds:


Parapara, Pisonia brunnonianum.  This is also called the “bird catcher tree”.  The seedpods are extremely sticky and small birds become caught on the pods.  Larger birds (like the morepork) also become trapped when they try to predate on the ensnared bird. One way to get over this problem, is to cut off the seedpods before they reach the sticky stage. The plant uses the dead birds as nutrients for the seeds when the ripe seed falls off with the dead bird.


Rhododendron, Rhododendron.  Each year tui are brought into bird rescue centres with poisoning from rhododendrons. It is extremely poisonous. I have found that if a camellia is visited by tui in the flowering season, and a rhododendron, of the same colour, is flowering nearby, the tui may visit the rhododendron to feed.   In my experience, it was a red rhododendron.  This has now been removed.  If tui are not treated quickly they will die with rhododendron poisoning. (Rhododendron is also toxic to stock).

*As some introduced trees and plants can become plant pests in some area please contact your local Regional Council for a list of plant pests.

Two suggested links with additional information to help attract birds to your garden: An excellent DOC site with suggestions as to how to attact birds to your garden.
DOC - attract-birds-to-your-garden
One can look up specific trees and plants on this site, great photos! — New Zealand Plant Conservation Network.