Saturday, 22 September 2012


Anarhynchus frontalis

Photo by Nick Talbot (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
wrybill (en); borrelho-de-bico-torto (pt); pluvier anarhynque (fr); chorlito piquituerto (es); schiefschnabel (de)

Order Charadriiformes
Family Charadriidae

This species is endemic to New Zealand, breeding in Canterbury and Otago, South Island, and wintering along the northern coasts of South Island and the coasts of North Island.

These birds are 20-21 cm long and have a wingspan of 50 cm. They weigh 40-70 g.

They breed in rocky river beds and winter in mudflats at the mouths of large rivers and in coastal lagoons. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 600 m.

The wrybill uses its sideways bended bill to search for various invertebrates under pebbles and shingle.

Wrybills breed in September-December. The nest is a slight depression amongst gravel or sand, lined with pebbles. The female lays 2 eggs, which are well camouflaged and resemble the pebbles around them. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 29-36 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and follow the parent on foraging trips until they fledge, 35-37 days after hatching.

IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a small breeding range and a global population estimated at 4.500-5.000 individuals. The population as suffered a slow decline over the last 4 decades, mostly due to loss of breeding habitat through changes in river flow caused by hydroelectric development, gravel extraction and agricultural intensification. Predation by introduced stouts Mustela erminea and cats, as well as by the increasing kelp gull Larus dominicanus. Aditional threats included loss of coastal habitats and human disturbance. 

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