2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

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

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 ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..


Scientific name:

 Anthus novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae

Maori Name:




Conservation status:

 At risk, declining

Mainland status:

 Locally common in open country

Size:  19cm, 40g




 August - March


 Invertebrates, larvae, sandhoppers, and also some seeds

This species is widely distributed with four subspecies found in New Zealand. Anthus novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae inhabits rough grasslands, sand dunes and rocky terrain throughout New Zealand, Stewart Island and offshore islands. The other three subspecies occur on the Chatham Islands, Antipodes Islands and the Auckland and Campbell Islands.

This slender bird runs and walks jerkily on long legs flicking its long tail up and down. Unlike the Skylark it does not soar high.

The head and upperparts are brown, streaked darker with a prominent white eyebrow. The underparts are whitish, streaked brown on the breast and the outer tail feathers are white. The common call is a shrill 'scree' or drawn out 'zwee' and the territorial song of the male, which is heard from August to February, is a repeated high pitched and slurred 'pipit' and a musical trill.

Their diet is mainly invertebrates, especially beetles (including grass grubs), wasps, flies, spiders, crickets, moths and bugs, insect larvae and pupae and sandhoppers.  They also take seeds of grasses, clover and weeds.

Some pairs remain on territory all year and breed year after year. The female builds the bulky grass nest with a deep cup which is usually well hidden at the base of a clump of grass, tussock, bracken fern, manuka bush, or on the side of a bank. Between August and February 2-3 clutches of 2-5 cream eggs, heavily blotched brown with a darker zone at the broader end are laid. The female incubates for 14-15 days and both parents feed the nestlings which fledge at 14-16 days old. 

It is thought that the New Zealand Pipit has declined locally and disappeared from some arable districts in part due to the introduction of pesticides and mammalian predators and Magpies.

The New Zealand Pipit is occasionally seen on Tiritiri Matangi Island.

Find out more about the New Zealand pipit at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Ian Southey © (left, adult; right, juvenile)

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.