A plane was grounded in Palmerston North this morning after hitting birds.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman confirmed that flight NZ5119 from Auckland to Palmerston North had a bird strike on landing this morning, which delayed the return flight by an hour.

"The aircraft was inspected by engineers and has since departed," she said.

"Bird strikes are not uncommon. Aircraft are designed with this in mind and our pilots train for this scenario."

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A passenger waiting for the 8.25am return flight said she was alerted of the delay by text message.

"When it was announced that we could board, they said there had been a bird strike on landing, a small bird."

She said Air NZ was "great" and kept passengers up to date on the situation.

"I noticed some of the people around me obviously had a destination they were eager to get to, but it is what it is.

"At the end of the day everyone wants to know they are getting on a plane that has been completely checked over and is safe."