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The hihi, aka stichbird, are an endemic but nationally-endangered species with numbers lower than 2000.
Genetic studies have shown that the hihi belongs to the Notiomysidae family, which is closest to New Zealand wattlebirds and not part of the honeyeater group as they were once thought. They eat nectar, fruits and invertebrates and are notoriously difficult customers in hospital because they are fast and can get past us!
This female hihi was brought over to Wildbase hospital because DOC staff noticed that her tongue was sticking out to the side.
When she arrived in hospital she was given a physical exam which showed a pea-sized lump of material in the mouth. A smear of this showed a mix of bacteria associated with it. She was given some intramuscular pain relief and the material was removed simply by using a moist cotton tip. Once out we were able to clean her mouth out and put her in a cage to relax.
Her mouth was cleaned out daily and closely monitored to ensure there was no recurring infection. She was also put on broad-spectrum antibiotics.
After a week the medications and cleaning was stopped and vets monitored her for another week before deeming her fit enough to return to her home.
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Last updated on Tuesday 16 August 2016