Tītipounamu / Rifleman coming to Zealandia

Tītipounamu / Rifleman coming to Zealandia

The Tītipounamu / Rifleman coming to Zealandia this month are New Zealand’s smallest bird and weigh the same as two 10-cent coins. PHOTO: DOC

New Zealand’s smallest bird, the Tītipounamu / Rifleman, is coming to Zealandia in Wellington  this month.

About 60 of the birds, endemic to New Zealand, will be trans-located from Wainuiomata Mainland Island to Zealandia Eco-sanctuary mid-March.

Tītipounamu weigh the same as two 10-cent coins, and are one of two surviving species of the New Zealand wren family – the other being the rock wren.

The population is in decline due to the loss of lowland forest.

Director of the Centre for People and Nature at Zealandia, Dr Danielle Shanahan, said the incoming birds would be protected at their new, predator-free home.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing these beautiful manu, these birds, here within the safety of the Zealandia fence.”

After many years of planning, the bird’s population at the Wainuiomata site had increased enough this year for the relocation to go ahead.

Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Prue Lamason, said it wanted to see the species spread across the region.

“We’re starting to see the impact of Zealandia’s halo effect, with native birds now much more common in the capital. It’s heartening that Greater Wellington is adding to that by providing a source for species that in time will also begin to colonise the capital.”

Tītipounamu will be the ninth species of bird that Zealandia has reintroduced to Wellington.

Wellington regional council, Wellington City Council, DOC, Taranaki Whānui, and Ngāti Toa Rangatira are all assisting with the relocation project.

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Article by Emma West

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