A person who shot a threatened species of New Zealand bird in Paraparaumu recently could face up to two years in prison and a fine of $100,000, according to the Department of Conservation.

A falcon, otherwise known as a karearea and protected under the Resource Management Act, was found shot dead in Nikau Valley earlier this month.

The bird was found still warm in a back paddock in Eucalyptus Way by home owners Simon and Katie Ford, who were "devastated". "We are planting native trees and want to encourage the birds back," Mrs Ford said. "We were shocked someone would shoot such a beautiful animal."

She said they had heard from neighbours that teenage boys at their end of the valley had been seen target shooting in the week prior.

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"A few people have responded on our valley Facebook page about seeing the bird in the few days prior and are horrified that it has been killed."

DoC biodiversity ranger David Moss said they were investigating.

"Shooting the falcon was unacceptable, no matter what the circumstances.

"It was a direct hit from a low calibre weapon, such as a .22 and appears to be intentional," he said.

"For someone to shoot this bird is appalling.

"Not only is the karearea a threatened species, it is a symbol of New Zealand and graces our $20 note."

He said the young bird was probably the offspring of a pair nested nearby.

The New Zealand falcon, which can reach speeds of up to 100km/h, is recognised for hunting a range of large prey such as mammals and lizards, with other birds making up most of its diet.

"Birds are their natural food source and unfortunately, this can include domestic poultry, doves and pigeons," Mr Moss said.

"If people experience problems with falcons attacking domestic birds, contact your local DoC office for advice, but don't shoot them."

┬ŽDoC is appealing for information about the shooting and asks people to contact the Kapiti Wellington office on 04 470 8412.