AGM 2019

Date posted: 09-Sep-2019

Our Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30 pm on Monday 23rd September at the F..

More plaudits for Tiritiri Matangi

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

Recognition of the wonderful experience visitors have when visiting the Island h..

Results of the 2019 Photo Competition

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

The results of this year's competition have now been decided. Click here (/2019-photo-co..

Lighthouse Open Day

Date posted: 30-Apr-2019

Our historic lighthouse, signal station and diaphonic foghorn will all be on dis..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..

Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..


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.