Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Our Unique Species

Native Birds at Bream Head Scenic Reserve PDF

Click to view native birds PDF

Forest Trees at Bream Head Scenic Reserve

Click to view forest trees PDF

Special Plants at Bream Head Scenic Reserve PDF

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Skinks and Geckos at Bream Head Scenic Reserve PDF

Click to view skinks and geckos PDF


Skinks and Geckos

In 2013, the Bream Head rangers made the discovery of a lifetime,  high in the cloud forest of Bream Head, amongst rocks and tangled vines, Pete and Cathy Mitchell stumbled upon a skink completely new to science.

Bream Head Skink

Discovered in 2013: The Bream Head skink – Oligosoma “Bream Head”

Ben Barr and Northtec conservation student Ayla Wiles studied this coffee-coloured marvel and have revealed it is distinct, but closely related to a skink in the lower North Island. We also know it is very curious and loves sunbathing and climbing trees, but it can only be found in an area less than a hectare due to introduced pests… in other words, it is very cool but without management it is doomed to extinction.

The work of the rangers up the hill appears to be making a huge difference already. The skinks are surviving, breeding and becoming more abundant, but we’ll need to stay vigilant. Keep a close eye out next time you are up Bream Head and you might be able to spot one of these fascinating creatures.

In the summer of 2014, we also found two other lizard species that hadn’t been seen in Bream Head before: the Moko skink and Forest gecko. We now know of nine species of lizard in the Whangarei Heads area, which is basically unheard of for the mainland. Make no mistake my friends, Whangarei Heads is the lizard capital of mainland New Zealand and you should be very, very excited about it.


Native Birds

With sustained and intensive pest control at Bream Head the ecosystem is flourishing; birds are being reintroduced that have been absent from mainland Northland for over a century and some species that were only occasional visitors from the Hen and Chicken offshore islands are now breeding within the Reserve.

Miromiro North Island Tomtit, male

Miromiro, North Island tomtit, male; photo courtesy of DOC

Forest Trees

Bream Head Conservation Trust has established a planting programme which has seen the planting of over 37,000 trees and plants between 2002 and 2015. Together with pest control, the planting programme has been responsible for the growing health of its forests and profusion of birds in the last decade.

Kauri - Agathis australis-nz-plant-conservation-network

Kauri – Agathis australis; photo courtesy of nz plant conservation network


Bream Head Scenic Reserve is home to an incredible diversity of nationally and regionally significant plants including threatened species and species not seen anywhere outside Whangarei Heads.

Pittosporum ellipticum; photo courtesty of Andrew Townsend - DOC

Pittosporum ellipticum; photo courtesty of Andrew Townsend – DOC