Primary School Science Conservation 2020 Award

Date posted: 18-Dec-2020

Dylan Lewis Y7 from Mahurangi College, Warkworth, being presented with the ..

Supporters of Tiritiri Inc and Fullers 360 Science Conservation 2020 Award

Date posted: 18-Dec-2020

The NIWA Auckland City Science and Technology Fair winner of the Supporters of Tiritiri ..

2020 Conservation Week

Date posted: 12-Aug-2020

Meet the Takahē on Tiritiri Matangi Island When: 1:30 pm, ..

AGM 2020

Date posted: 25-Jul-2020

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE TO WEDNESDAY 21ST OCTOBER 2020 due to Covid restrictions at t..

Ferry Resuming July 4th!

Date posted: 01-Jun-2020

Great News!!! We have confirmation Fuller360 ferry service to Tiritiri Matangi wi..

The 2020 Photo Competition Winners

Date posted: 22-May-2020

Here are the winning and commended photos from this year's competition. Congratulations to the photo..

Celebrate the Takahe Art Competition

Date posted: 08-Apr-2020

Hi Tiri Kids, It’s TakahÄ“ Awareness Month! Everyone loves our takah..

COVID-19 Important Information

Date posted: 25-Mar-2020

The government has announced that New Zealand is now at alert level 2 for COVID-19. Th..

2019 Winner Primary School Supporters of Tiritiri and Fullers 360 Science Award is Ethan Raymond

Date posted: 11-Mar-2020

Ethan has helped the Enviro-Warriors in many ways such as planning, gard..

2019 Winner Y8-Y13 NIWA Supporters of Tiritiri and Fullers 360 Science Award is Abby Haezelwood

Date posted: 11-Mar-2020

Abby Haezelwood with her winning Science Exhibit on Plastic Beaches at the NIWA Taihoro Nuk..


Scientific name:

 Prunella modularis



Conservation status:   Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:

 European introduction, locally common


 6+ years possibly


 14cm, 21g


 August - January


 Small invertebrates, some fruits and seed

This inconspicuous little bird was introduced into New Zealand mainly by Acclimatisation Societies between 1867 and 1882, and is now locally common throughout the mainland in hedges in farmland, orchards, gardens, exotic plantations, scrub and native forest.

Both sexes look alike and superficially resemble a female house sparrow, but the body is slimmer and they have a fine black bill. They are a dull sandy brown, streaked darker upperparts and greyish white underparts, grey around the head and neck, with a warm-brown eye and orange brown legs. The call is a high-pitched insistent tseep. Their song is a thin, hurried warble, shorter and lower in pitch than that of the grey warbler.

Dunnocks feed on the ground mainly, eating beetles, spiders, flies, aphids, ants, worms and some small fruits and seeds.

Breeding is between August and January and 2–3 broods per year are raised. The female, sometimes helped by the male, builds the well concealed nest in a hedge and usually less than two metres from the ground. The nest is a neat bowl of twigs and grass, lined with moss, hair, wool, feathers, tree fern scales. The clutch of 2–5 deep blue eggs is incubated by the female only for 11–14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge at 10–14 days. 

Dunnocks have not been recorded on Tiritiri Matangi, though they do occur on some offshore islands.

Learn more about the dunnock at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by Dr Kerry Rogers ©

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