01 February, 2012

New Zealand Fernbird

Scientific Name: Megalurus punctatus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to New Zealand where found throughout the mainland and Steward Island in freshwater and tidal wetlands, especially with reed beds. Can also be found in drier sparse scrub and bracken fern.

Field Notes: Medium-sized passerine, more often heard than seen. Warm brown above and paler below, though underparts are heavily spotted and streaked. White eyebrow stripe. Distinctive long, frayed tail, which is not present yet in the juvenile above. Flight weak with drooping tail. Call a sharp metallic double-note.

Personal Notes: A wonderful find at Bush Point Fernbirds near Invercargill, where we saw two juveniles and heard mom feeding them. We subsequently saw and heard several of these birds in the Catlins. Maori name Matata.

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