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
Banded, so one of the birds transferred to Ulva Island
Seen at the nest entrance, note the white underhead and breast
Seen at the nest entrance, notice the upper head and back colour.
Tiny wings, and showing the very short tail
The only time I have ever seen one feeding on the forest floor