Bird of the Year godwit gets Chinese habitat protection deal

New Zealand has reached a memorandum of understanding with China, which has agreed to protect the habitat of a well-known migratory bird - the godwit.

The godwits' round trip to Alaska and back includes Chinese feeding grounds that had been under pressure from development. Source: 1 NEWS

The bar-tailed godwit (kuaka) was recently declared Bird of the Year by Forest and Bird and they have the longest migratory route of any bird in the world.

They fly a round trip between Alaska, New Zealand and China each year, covering about 30,000km.

During their China stop, they inhabit wetlands covering about 320,000 hectares in about six areas across three provinces.

These areas will be set aside from development and protected in perpetuity.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says they are very special birds and hailed the arrangement as wonderful news.

"It's a miracle of nature - nobody can really understand how something that weighs 100g can fatten itself up, can make a journey of that kind."