Bush birds


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Kids for BirdsAviary 1Bush birds



Deep in the forest is a fuschia tree, with flowers of red and blue, and high above a falcon stares

as a fantail flits into view.   There's a swamp in the forest, where a frog sits and watches

a fly that has landed close by.  Then a fernbird appears, from its dark, reedy home,

catching insects as they fly. (from K is for KIWI, Reed)








ROBIN/Tououwai     Petroica australis     FAMILY:  Muscicapidae

Endemic to NZ with 3 closely related sub-species.   North and South Island illustrated.   Fully protected.   Robins are found throughout NZ, in native bush and exotic forest, but are localised in some areas.   They feed on worms, and insects in the lower levels of the forest and on the ground.   Robins are very inquisitive and will come to investigate noises made by trampers.   Breeding is from August to February.   The nest is a bulky structure of moss, roots and bark bound together with spiders' web and lined with tree fern scales and soft grasses, found in tree hollows, tree forks and rock crevises relatively low down.   The eggs, 2-4, are cream with purplish-brown spots, denser at the larger end.   The female only incubates.




TOMTIT/Miro miro, Ngiro ngiro            Petroica macrocephala

FAMILY: Muscicapidae

The Tomtit is endemic to NZ with 5 closely related sub-species, with Pied and Yellow-breasted Tits illustrated.   Fully protected.   Tomtit are found throughout NZ in native  and exotic forest, with the Pied Tit in the North Island and the Yellow-breasted Tit in the South Island.  They feed on grubs and insects, often caught in flight.   Breeding is from September to February and 2 broods are produced.   The nest is of moss, bark and cobwebs lined with feathers and located in hollows in tree trunks, rock crevises or sometimes in a branch fork up to 10mts.   The eggs, 3-4, are cream, with light yellowish and purplish-brown spots densest at the larger end.   The female only incubates.



RIFLEMAN/Titipounamu        Acanthisitta chloris

FAMILY:  Xenicidae

Smallest of the NZ birds, the Rifleman has 2 closely related sub-species, one in the North Island and one in southern islands.   They are fully protected.   Found throughout NZ except north of Te Aroha, also found on Little and Great Barrier Islands, in native and exotic forest up to the bush line.   They feed maimly on insects, small larvae and moths high in trees, by searching among bark and foliage.   Breeding is from August to January with generally 2 broods.   The nest is closely woven with fine roots and leaves lined with feathers, in hollow limbs, bark crevises and clay banks.   The eggs, 2-4, are white.




NEW ZEALAND PIGEON/Keruru     Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae

FAMILY: Columbidae

Endemic to NZ with one closely related sub-species in the Chatham Islands.   Fully protected.   This large, distinctive coloured bird, with its heavy flight and swooshing of wings, can be found throughout NZ, although it is mainly restricted to native bush.   Rising and falling nuptual flights in Spring.   Food consists of fruit, leaves and flowers, and has adapted to eating such introduced plants as willow, lucerne, plums, clover etc.   Breeding occurs mainly from November to January and the nest is a flimsy structure of twigs in trees and shrubs.   The egg, 1, is pure white.



BROWN CREEPER/ Pipipi     Finschia novaeseelandiae   FAMILY: Muscicapidae

Endemic and fully protected.   Smaller than a sparrow, these little brown birds feed in noisy flocks.   Only found in the South Island, Stewart Island and their offlying islands in native bush, and also exotic  plantations and scrub up to sub-alpine.  They are not found in open country.    Food includes grubs, insects and moths.   Breeding is from November to January and the nest is a neat cup, woven with fibres,  grass and moss and lined with feathers, well hidden in the tops of shrubs.   The eggs, 3-4, are white, heavily blotched with purplish-brown, more dense at the larger end.   Only the female incubates.   Brown Creeper are often host to the Long-Tailed Cuckoo.


 BELLBIRD / Korimako, Makomako

 BELLBIRD     Anthornis melanura     FAMILY: Meliphagidae    

 Endemic with one closely related sub-species.   Fully protected.     About the size of a Starling with a long tail with a notched end, V shaped.   The male is overall olive-green, lighter under the tail, with a blue-purple face and red eye.   The female is duller with paler face and narrow white stripe on the lower cheek.   The voice is  liquid flute-like notes with a sharp alarm call.   Often confused with the call of the Tui.    Bellbird are found throughout NZ in forest, scrub, gardens, parks and orchards.   They are, however, scarse north of Auckland.   They feed on nectar, fruit and insects.   Pollen often becomes attached to the head while they are feeding on flax and pohutakawa, causing bright orange colouring.     Breeding is from September to January and the nest is  loosely constructed of fibres and twigs with a deep cup that is lined with fine grass and feathers.   The nest is usually in dense cover up to 40ft.   The eggs, 3-4, are pinkish-white with reddish-brown spots and blotches, densest at the larger end.   The female only incubates the eggs.

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Copyright(c) 2006 Janet Marshall. All rights reserved.


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