+64 3 219 1151 tait@sailsashore.co.nz

Rifleman

Titipounamu

Acanthisitta chloris

The rifleman is the smallest of our native birds. It’s an insect feeder and most often seen foraging amongst the trunk, branches and leaves of our larger trees. It is seldom still, and even on the perch will continually “flit” from one side to the other. It’s song is very high pitched, at around 24k cps, and so well above many peoples hearing range, and certainly mine.  I once took a bat detector to a nest, and dialed down the input sound frequency to 24 k and heard it’s call, which reminded me of polystyrene rubbed on glass. . The female is grey/brown with greenish lower body, while the male is a predominantly grass green. The tail is so short as to vanish beneath the wings at rest. The beak has a slight upwards tilt. Nesting is in a hole in a tree, usually quite low down.  All nests I have observed have hatched in mid December. A family together looks like a swarm of bumblebees, they are so small.

weight….. around 6 gm

Male Rifleman

Banded, so one of the birds transferred to Ulva Island

Female Rifleman

Seen at the nest entrance, note the white underhead and breast

Female Rifleman

Seen at the nest entrance, notice the upper head and back colour.

Female Rifleman

Nest material

Female Rifleman

Tiny wings, and showing the very short tail

Female Rifleman

The only time I have ever seen one feeding on the forest floor

Rifleman song


Sails Ashore, Kowhai Lane & Sails Tours

11 View Street,
Stewart Island,
9846 NEW ZEALAND

Phone + 64 3 219 1151
Toll Free 0800 783 9278 (NZ only)

Email: tait@sailsashore.co.nz
Web: www.sailsashore.co.nz