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Saddleback (Tieke)
Philesturnus carunculatus

The Saddleback is a bird that was once close to extinction - surviving only on two islands at opposite ends of New Zealand, each one containing a subspecies. Since that point, they have been protected and translocated to predator-free islands and now they less threatened. One of the reasons that their numers were so reduced is that Saddlebacks are poor flyers and often prefer to hop from branch to branch. This bird is of the subspecies rufusater, which is the North Island subspecies. They are a member of the New Zealand wattlebird family (not related to the wattlebirds of Australia), as indicated by the red fleshy growths on the face.


1: Tiritiri Matangi, 14/09/2010.