New Zealand's Natural Cover Stitchbird (Hihi)


The Hihi is one of New Zealand’s rarest birds and was extinct on the mainland and many outer islands by 1886. However a small population survived on Little Barrier Island. Feeding on nectar, insects and small fruits they hover in front of blossoms like bees.

Stitchbirds are cavity nesters and conceal their eggs in the moss of the Puriri tree, returning year after year to the same nesting site.  Diminishing nectar may have hastened the Hihi’s decline but translocation from Little Barrier to other islands has resulted in a population of 500-1000 birds today. The males, with their brilliant plumage, look a little like tropical butterflies. Their distinctive colouring of bright and dark provides them with natural cover in any number of situations.

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