New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

Blackbird

Scientific name:

 Turdus merula

 

 

Conservation status

 Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:

 Widespread and abundant 

Size:

 25cm, 90g 

Lifespan:

 15 years possibly

Breeding:

 August - January

Diet:

 Mixture of invertebrates and fruits


Male blackbirdIntroduced from Europe in the 1860s and 1870s and now considered the most widespread species within New Zealand, especially in gardens, parks, orchards, farmlands, scrub and forest.

The male blackbird is black with a bright orange bill; the female is dark brown with a pale throat and smudgy mottled breast with a dull orange and brown bill. The song is a loud, clear melodious warble. The alarm call is a persistent sharp 'chink – chink'.

Usually they breed from late August to early January and 2–3 broods a year are raised, sometimes in the same nest.  A substantial nest is built of twigs, grass, roots and moss, fortified with mud and roughly lined with grass and leaf skeletons. The eggs, 2–6 per clutch, are bluish green to greenish brown, freckled with reddish brown.  The female incubates for 13–14 days and both parents feed the chicks which fledge at 13–15 days.

Blackbirds feed mainly on the ground and eat insects, spiders and a wide variety of fruits from both native podocarps and shrubs and introduced shrubs and weeds. They can cause damage to orchards and spread weed seeds into native forests and crops, but they also help to disperse the seeds of fleshy–fruited understorey plants in native forests.

Learn more about blackbirds by visiting New Zealand Birds Online.

Female blackbird














Photography by: Dr Kerry Rodgers © (Male - top right; female - bottom left)

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Moon, G
The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.