Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

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..


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.