Stitchbird

Notiomystis cincta - Méliphage hihi

Systematics
  • Order 
    :

    Passeriformes

  • Family
    :

    Notiomystidés

  • Genus
    :

    Notiomystis

  • Species
    :

    cincta

Descriptor

Du Bus de Gisignies, 1839

Biometrics
  • Size
    : 18 cm
  • Wingspan
    : -
  • Weight
    : 26 à 42 g
Geographic range

Distribution

Description identification

The Stitchbird (Hihi in Mori) is a mid-sized passerine (slightly larger than a Yellowhammer and larger than a House Sparrow). When the male is in breeding plumage, its front half is jet black, with a white spot behind the eye. This spot is a tuft of erectile feathers that are used during mating displays. The black is bordered by a yellow fringe along the flanks and coverts. The underside is a brownish grey. The female is duller, brown rather than black and devoid of an erectile tuft. The yellow is absent too, but the female has an obvious white wing bar.

Subspecific information 2 Subspecies

  • Notiomystis cincta cincta (North I.)
  • Notiomystis cincta hautura (Little Barrier I.)

Foreign names

  • Méliphage hihi,
  • Hihi,
  • Hihi,
  • öves maorimadár,
  • Geelbandhoningeter,
  • Uccello chirurgo,
  • Hihi,
  • Stitsjhonningeter,
  • hihi bútľavinový,
  • medosavka hvízdavá,
  • Skæghonningæder,
  • uudenseelanninmesikko,
  • hihi,
  • miodnik,
  • Новозеландский медосос,
  • シロツノミツスイ,
  • 缝叶吸蜜鸟,
  • 縫合吸蜜鳥,

Voice song and cries

Méliphage hihi
♂ adult

The song is an explosive and noisy 'sii-si-hip'. Sometimes babble repeated over several minutes can be heard. The species also has a 'stich' alarm call that gave the bird its vernacular name.

Habitat

The Stitchbird inhabits mature forest where hollow trees can be found. Currently; it is only found in predator-free offshore islands dotted around the New Zealand North Island coast, especially Little Barrier Island (where the last natural population survives) and Tiritiri-Matangi. There have been reintroductions in Kapiti Island, and on the mainland in Auckland (Ark in the Park) and Wellington (Zealandia).

Behaviour character trait

The Stichbird is a discrete bird, even though it calls often. Living in the darkest part of the forest, it can be had to observe. On Tiritiri-Matangi, the individuals where not shy at all, coming to feed within a meter of observers. A distinctive behaviour is to often raise its tail.

Diet feeding habits

The species is quite eclectic as it will feed on insects, nectar or fruit.

Reproduction nesting

The breeding season is from September to April. The nest is built in a cavity in a hollow tree. It is usually a thick bowl shaped nest made of fine twigs and lined with grass. A clutch has 3 to 5 eggs.

Geographic range

Threats - protection

IUCN conservation status
Extinct
Threatened
Least
concern
Extinc
in the Wild
Near
threatened
Not
evaluated
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC NE

Previously widespread in the forest of the North Island, the Stitchbird, an endemic species, only numbers 2000 or so individuals. Most are on Little Barrier Island, but reintroduced population now exist on predator-free island to increase the resilience of the species and to ensure survival should Little Barrier become compromised. However, the introduced populations are not viable yet and need further reintroductions to maintain themselves. The life expectancy appears to be shorter than for those individuals in Little Barrier Island, maybe because the islands are too small. Supplementary feeding is carried out but this does not seem sufficient and some more reintroductions on other sites might be necessary. The species is considered Vulnerable by BirdLife International.

Illustration

plus de photos

Sources of information

Other sources of interest

QRcode Méliphage hihi
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