From migratory and social behaviour, to the impact of humans, conservation and veterinary medicine, Massey has a broad range of expertise in the area of birds and particularly New Zealand’s endemic species.

Research expertise

Avian diversity and evolution

We have a number of researchers working in areas related to the evolution of birds. We have expertise in the development and implications of colouration, song diversity and the genetics of flightlessness and species development.

We are using New Zealand fossils to help reconstruct the events that constructed our unique avifauna.


Avian health and management

Our research is focused on understanding and mitigating disease in wild birds. We have expertise in disease management in captive and wild birds, toxicology, physiology, parasitology and endocrinology in species of interest.


Behavioural ecology

Behavioural ecology analyses the evolutionary context of animal behaviours associated with adaption to environment and applies this knowledge to species conservation.

Massey University researchers are investigating the impact of capture, captivity and handling, human contact, rehabilitation and relocation on the behavioural patterns, survival, reproduction rates and ongoing welfare of wildlife, with a focus on New Zealand native wildlife.


Conservation and translocation of birds

Our research improves the status of threatened species with management techniques such as predator control and reintroduction, enhanced by applied population ecology.

Our conservation research is tightly linked to the behavioural and population dynamics of rare and endangered birds both in New Zealand and internationally. We are also researching how to improve decisions made in reintroduction programmes.



We have expertise in how and why animals undertake regular, usually annual, long-distance movements. We investigate spatial distributions of individuals and populations and have ongoing studies into the genetics and plasticity of migration timing in response to climate change and habitat loss.


Oiled wildlife research

Massey University is at the forefront of oiled wildlife research. Research includes impacts on wildlife health, wildlife ecology, wildlife population studies, wildlife reproduction and genetics, wildlife diet and foraging behaviour and wildlife management.


Wildlife nutrition

Massey scientists are involved in research on the nutrition of both free-living and captive wildlife.

We study the micro- and macronutrient requirements of wildlife and how the gut processes nutrients. We also have expertise in the impact of foraging and feeding behaviour on wild animal health.

This includes research into optimal diets for breeding programmes, translocations and the critical care of wildlife species.


Research projects


    Animal Genetic Services

    Massey University’s Equine Parentage and Animal Genetics Services Centre offers the most comprehensive range of DNA-based genetic testing for animals in New Zealand.

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    Companion Animal Clinic

    Top-quality veterinary care for all types of small pets. Open to the public, we are the first choice veterinary clinic for local pets. You can also ask your veterinarian for a referral to us for difficult cases. For emergencies contact the Pet Emergency Centre.

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    Pet Emergency Centre

    We are the only 24-hour pet emergency centre in the central North Island. Our team is ready to provide excellent emergency and critical care treatment to your pet in our purpose-built, fully equipped facility.

    Call 0800 PET EMERGENCY (0800 738 363)

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    Wildbase Hospital

    Wildbase Hospital is New Zealand's only dedicated wildlife hospital. We provide a nationwide service and are at the forefront of veterinary care of New Zealand’s native birds, half of which are classified as threatened or endangered.

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      AviaNZ birdsong recognition software

      Developed by Massey scientists this software program is easy to use and equipped with the essentials for spectrogram reading, analysis and manual annotation. You can download the software along with the user manual for free.

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      Fauna toolkit

      A joint project between Massey University, Canterbury Museum and Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Fauna Toolkit is a portal to 3D digitised models of bird bones from museum collections.

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      Reintroduction specialist group

      This a networking group for reintroduction practitioners worldwide, and provides guidance for re-introduction projects. It provides a set of guidelines for reintroductions, a reintroduction practitioners directory and other resources. Massey University leads this group.

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      Animal expertise

      Find out about research, facilities, research degrees, services and resources to do with animal specialities at Massey University.