Saturday, 13 November 2010


Acanthisitta chloris

Photo by Kimball Chen (Kea Photography)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Acanthisittidae

The rifleman is endemic to New Zealand, being in present in both the North and South islands.

This tiny passerine is just 8 cm long and has a wingspan of 10-11 cm. Females are slightly larger than males, males weigh 5,5-6 g while females weigh 6,5-7,5 g.

Rifleman are well adapted to forest, scrubland, and alpine environments.

Their diet consists of insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. Males take prey from tree leaves while females find food within tree bark, using their slightly more up-curved bill to pry and loosen bark away from trees.

They build rock fissures, holes in tree trunks, or even in cavities in the ground. The nest entrance is often so narrow that the birds struggle to get inside. The female lays 3-4 eggs, which are incubated for 20 days by both parents. Chicks fledge after 24 days. Many pairs are able to fledge two clutches per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The species is widespread along its range as is not considered threatened at present.

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