Monday, March 18, 2013

Hihi

Notiomystis cincta (male)
The Hihi, or Stitchbird, is a small, rare, honeyeater-like bird found only in New Zealand. I say "honeyeater-like" because they actually did belong to that family until recently. However, genetic testing showed that these birds actually belong to their very own, unique family. They were moved to Notiomystidae in 2007.

Hihi exhibit sexual dimorphism. The males are larger in size, and have bright black head feather and a vibrant yellow neck band. They have additional yellow coloration on the wings and shoulders. Females are greyish-brown overall. Both sexes sport thin, curved bills that help them to get at nectar.

The Hihi live in old forests where there are hollow trees. They are cavity nesters, and thus need those trees in order to reproduce. They have a monogamous breeding system, and both parents will help to care for the young.

Diseases brought my introduced species, along with introduced predators have caused these birds to decline in number. There is currently only one natural, self-sustaining population left, and that is on Little Barrier Island. There are recovery efforts to reintroduce and sustain additional groups on different islands. It is estimated that there are between 500 and 1,000 adults left.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : New Zealand
Size : Body Length up to 7in (18cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Notiomystidae -- Genus : Notiomystis -- Species : N. cincta
Image : Internet Bird Collection

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