Saddleback birds of New Zealand


Saddleback

From Wildlife Extra:

Endangered Saddleback Birds Released on Predator Free Island Off New Zealand

April 2008. Thirty nine endangered saddleback/tieke are nowsettling into a new home on a predator-free island in New Zealand’s Fjordland thanks to the combined efforts of a winery with a special interest in these unique birds and the Fiordland Conservation Trust.

Peregrine Wines staff and supporters of their company joined DOC staff late last month capturing the birds from South Passage and Breaksea Islands and releasing them onto Te Kakahu o Tamatea/Chalky Island as part of a programme to extend populations of tieke back over their original range. …

Last Island Refuges

Tieke who nest and spend much of their lives foraging on the ground were thought to have become extinct on the mainland quickly following the introduction of mammalian predators. They survived only on Big South Cape Island up until the 1960’s when rats were accidentally introduced to the island. They were almost wiped out on the island, but ….birds were rescued by the Wildlife Service (a predecessor of DOC) and transferred to a predator free island. They have since been transferred to a few predator free islands in Fiordland. Their survival now depends on these island sanctuaries free of predators. …

Te Kakahu (Chalky Island)

The Tieke transfer to Te Kakahu (Chalky Island) is part of the ongoing programme to restore native species to islands after removal of introduced pests. Te Kakahu has never had rats, mice, possums or deer present and as a result of this is an incredibly intact ecosystem. The island is already home to other threatened species including Mohua, Orange Fronted Parakeets (which have been transferred to the island during the past 5 years) an endemic species of lizard as well as other threatened invertebrates.

The final story I want to tell in the extinctions of New Zealand is that of Big South Cape Island. It is off Stewart Island, which is itself south of South Island. While Stewart Island escaped many of the feral introductions that devastated South island, it did have rats. In 1963, however, Big South Cape didn’t, and like several such islands around New Zealand, it had many birds no longer found on the mainland: here.

March 2011: Thanks to the efforts of the Department of Conservation and with funding from the Mohua Charitable Trust, the transfer of 69 endangered mohua, or yellowhead, as the birds are otherwise known, to mainland New Zealand in October last year has proven highly successful. The results are just in from the monitoring team and they are thrilled with how the recent breeding season has gone: here.

Crimson rosella evolution: here.

6 thoughts on “Saddleback birds of New Zealand

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