Terrestrial Birdlife

Terrestrial birds are land based birds that live in forests, scrub and open country. Only approximately one third of New Zealand's native birds are land birds. Part of the reason for the smaller proportion of land species is the countries extensive wetlands, long shoreline and vast marine area. Eighty-five of New Zealand's ninety-one species of native land birds are endemic (they occur nowhere else).

The three main types of terrestrial birdlife are;

High Population Species

Bellbird

Korimako

Anthornis melanura


Image of Bellbird


 Food: Bellbirds mainly feed on nectar from many native and introduced plants. In autumn and summer they feed on fruit from native plants and in beech forests they take honeydew from scale insects on the tree trunks.

 Habitat: Bellbirds mainly feed on nectar from many native and introduced plants. In autumn and summer they feed on fruit from native plants and in beech forests they take honeydew from scale insects on the tree trunks.

 Predators: Bellbirds have survived well on the mainland and elsewhere in the presence of introduced predators, although they occur in much greater densities on predator free islands.

Fantail

Pīwakawaka

Rhipidura fuliginosa


Image of Faintail


 Food: Fantail mainly eat small invertebrates, such as moths, flies, beetles and spiders. Large prey is subdued by being held in a foot against a perch and being repeatedly pecked. Small fruit are sometimes eaten.


 Habitat: Fantails are widespread in native forest blocks, small forest patches, scrubland, exotic plantations, farm shelterbelts, orchards and well treed suburban parks and gardens.


 Predators: The Fantail has coped reasonably well with the conversion of lowland forests to farmland. However, nesting adults, eggs and chicks are prey to introduced mammalian pests, particularly ship rats.

Grey Warbler

Riroriro

Gerygone igata


Image of Grey Warbler


 Food: Grey Warblers are entirely insectivorous, feeding mainly on caterpillars, flies, beetles, moths and other small invertebrates. They are typically seen foraging on the bark of tree trunks and branches.

 Habitat: The Grey Warbler is ubiquitous, occurring everywhere there are trees or shrubs. It is one of the few native species to have maintained their distribution in almost all habitats following human colonisation including rural and urban.

 Predators: The Grey Warblers main predators are possums, stoats, feral cats and rats.


Tui

Tūī

Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae


Image of Tui


 Food: Tui diet varies depending on seasonal availability of nectar and fruits. Their preferred diet is nectar and honey dew.




 Habitat: Tui are found in native forests and scrub, in rural gardens, stands of flowering kowhai and gums, and in suburban parks and gardens.



 Predators: Tui respond extremely well to pest control programmes targeting possums, rats and mustelids which are probably their main nest predators.

Some of the other high population species are:

Medium Population Species

New Zealand Pigeon

Kererū

Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae


Image of New Zealand Wood Pigeon


 Food: Foods include buds, leaves, flowers and fruit from a wide variety of species, both native and exotic. In addition, they have been seen feeding on the fruiting bodies of parasitic strawberry fungus found on beech forest. Kereru also feed on leaves of kowhai, tree Lucerne and broom.

 Habitat: Kereru inhabit a wide variety of forest types, podocarp-broadleaf forest, beech forest, second growth native forest regenerating after logging, small forest remnants. Also farmland shelter belts, urban parks, and rural and suburban gardens.

 Predators: The main threat to Kereru is predation by introduced mammalian predators, particularly feral cats, possums, stoats and ship rats, especially when nesting. Where pest populations are removed or controlled to low levels Kereru have increased markedly.

Morepork

Ruru

Ninox novaeseelandiae


Image of Morepork


 Food: Morepork catch and consume a wide variety of small animals, including large insects, small birds and small mammals. The diet varies with season, generally in proportion to abundance of prey species.



 Habitat: Morepork are widely distributed throughout the native and exotic forest of New Zealand. Morepork roost in dark forested areas with high overhead cover, on a branch, on top of a tree fern or within a cavity.


 Predators: Prone to predation when nesting, by cats, possums, rats and mustelids. Morepork are vulnerable to secondary poisoning from pest control operations using brodifacoum poison.


Some of the other medium population species are:

Low Population Species

South Island Robin

Toutouwai

Petroca australis


Image of South Island Robin


 Food: Much of their diet consists of invertebrates, earthworms, stick insects, tree weta and slugs. South Island Robin also eat small ripe fruit in spring and summer.

 Habitat: The South Island Robin occurs in forest, scrub and exotic plantations, particularly those that are fairly mature with an open understorey. They seem to favour moist areas.




 Predators: The main threat to the South Island Robins conservation is predation by introduced predators, such as feral cats, stoats, possums and ship rats.

South Island Rifleman

Titipounamu

Acanthisitta chloris


Image of Rifleman


 Food: Riflemen are exclusively insectivorous, feeding on a large variety of small invertebrates, particularly beetles, spiders and moth species (both adults and caterpillars).

 Habitat: Riflemen are found predominantly in mature forest, especially beech, kauri, kamahi and podocarp forest. They are now confined to higher altitude forest throughout both the North and South Islands. Riflemen are widespread in the west of the South Island on Banks Peninsula and seaward Kaikoura ranges.

 Predators: Population declines and fragmentation of Riflemen are likely to be related to habitat clearance initially, compounded by the impacts of introduced pest species, particularly stoats.

Some of the other low population species are:



References

Websites

http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz

Images

Bellbird. Adult male. Dunedin, July 2009. Image © Craig McKenzie by Craig McKenzie.
From http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/bellbird

New Zealand fantail. North Island adult calling. Wanganui, May 2012. Image © Ormond Torr by Ormond Torr.
From http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/new-zealand-fantail

Grey warbler. 10 April 2011 Image © Craig McKenzie by Craig McKenzie.
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigmckenzie/

Tui. 22 January 2009 Image © Craig McKenzie by Craig McKenzie.
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigmckenzie/

New Zealand pigeon. Perched adult. Wanganui, September 2012. Image © Ormond Torr by Ormond Torr.
From http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/new-zealand-pigeon

Morepork. Adult perched on branch at dusk. Kerikeri, December 2014. Image © Duncan Watson by Duncan Watson.
From http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/morepork/

South Island robin. Adult male. Kowhai Bush Kaikoura, June 2008. Image © Peter Reese by Peter Reese.
From http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/south-island-robin

Rifleman on tree. 7 April 2012 Image © Craig McKenzie by Craig McKenzie.
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigmckenzie/

Banner Images

View of the two peninsulas, November 2015. Image © Jo Cowin by Jo Cowin.

Spotted Shags, April 2014. Image © Craig Mckenzie by Craig Mckenzie.
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigmckenzie/14087150644/in/dateposted/

White Fronted Tern Chick, January 2010. Image © Craig Mckenzie by Craig Mckenzie.
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigmckenzie/4314474667/

Southern Rata, February 2008. Image © Craig Mckenzie by Craig Mckenzie.
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigmckenzie/3763910978/in/dateposted/

Wood Pigeon, November 2008. Image © Craig Mckenzie by Craig Mckenzie.
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigmckenzie/3118780409/in/dateposted/

New Zealand Robin, April 2012. Image © Craig Mckenzie by Craig Mckenzie.
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigmckenzie/7069957419/in/dateposted/

Tree Fern, July 2009. Image © Craig Mckenzie by Craig Mckenzie.
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigmckenzie/3763114195/

All images have been reproduced with permission from the creator.