February 24, 2015 – North Island Saddleback or Tīeke (Philesturnus carunculatus rufusater)

Requested by: gepwin

One of two subspecies of the Saddleback, also known as the Tīeke, these birds are in New Zealand’s wattlebird family. They are found only on a few islands of the country and in captivity. Extinct on the mainland, their population began to decline in the middle of the 19th century, due to habitat destruction and introduced predators. Since 1964, conservationists have successfully increased their numbers by introducing populations to other islands. They eat insects and fruit, foraging near and on the forest floor. Weak fliers, Saddlebacks tend to hop between branches.