Saddleback, Tieke, Philesturnus carunculatus, New Zealand

Saddleback, Tieke, Philesturnus carunculatus, New Zealand

Description: The Saddleback or Tieke (Philesturnus carunculatus) is a rare and endangered New Zealand bird of the family Callaeidae. It is glossy black with a chestnut saddle. Its taxonomic family is also known as that of the (New Zealand) "wattlebirds", an ancient group of birds. It includes Kokako (South Island subspecies is extinct) as well as the extinct Huia. All members of this family have coloured fleshy appendages on either side of the beak known as "wattles". In the case of Saddleback, they are a vivid red in colour.
They are poor fliers, moving through the forest by bounding from tree to tree using their strong legs. They do make a better attempt at flying though, but seldom sustained for more than 50 metres . Their jaws have considerable power which enables the saddleback to lever bark from trees and split decaying branches in search of insects, especially weta. They spend a lot of time rummaging around on the forest floor poking in leaf litter and crevices which makes them very susceptible to predation. They will supplement their diet with fruit and nectar in the summer months.
This picture was taken on Tiritiri Matangi Island and represents subspecies North Island Saddleback — Philesturnus carunculatus rufusater (Source: Wikipedia,

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Keywords: Auckland, New Zealand, Tiritiri Matangi Island, Saddleback, Tieke, Philesturnus carunculatus, Tiritiri Matangi, fauna, birds, nature, Philesturnus carunculatus rufusater, Philesturnus rufusater

Exif: Exposure: 1/500, Aperture: 13.0, ISO: 800

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