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..

The Tiritiri Concert

Date posted: 11-Feb-2020

Folk on the Water The 2020 Tiritiri Matangi Conce..

2020 Photo competition now open

Date posted: 15-Jan-2020

This year's photo competition is now open for entries. Please click here (/m..

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..

Rifleman

Scientific name:

 Acanthisitta chloris granti

Maori Name:

 Titipounamu

 

 

Conservation status:

 Endemic. At risk - declining

Mainland status:

 North and South and some offshore Islands. Locally common.

Size:

 8cm long, males 6 g, females 7 g.

Lifespan:

 Oldest known was over 6 years 

Breeding:

 Lays Sep to Dec, two clutches possible. Enclosed nest in tree cavity 

Diet:

 Insects, spiders, moths and beetles and some ripe fruit.


Riflemen were widespread at the time of European settlement but declined with the loss of lowland forest and are now patchily distributed. Because they are unlikely to disperse across water or open habitats, unless humans intervene, loss of this species in fragmented blocks of forest tends to be permanent.
 
 Male Rifleman


The Rifleman is New Zealand’s smallest bird at only 8 cm long. It has rounded wings, a short, stumpy tail and a fine, slightly upturned bill. The male is bright green above while the female is streaked brown above. In poor light, the difference in plumage between the sexes can be difficult to see. Rifleman are most easily found by hearing their distinctive, high-pitched 'zzzptt zzzptt zzzptt' calls, but unfortunately, these are too high-pitched for some people's hearing. They are rarely still and flick their wings repeatedly.

Thirty-one Rifleman were translocated from Hauturu/Little Barrier Island in February 2009 with a further 14 birds transferred 12 months later and 15 birds in April 2011.

Rifleman pairs remain in their territory all year and stay together year after year. They are renowned for climbing tree trunks, like treecreepers, gathering food from epiphytic mosses and lichens. However, food is gleaned at all levels of the forest and occasionally from the forest floor.

  
 Female Rifleman

Rifleman are mainly cavity nesters. On Tiritiri Matangi, some nesting boxes have been utilised although old ponga logs are a popular choice. Except for the entrance, the nest is completely enclosed and lined with leaf skeletons, fern roots, twigs and feathers. Two to five white eggs per clutch are laid from September to December. Both sexes incubate the eggs which hatch after19-20 days and then feed the nestlings until they fledge at about 24 days. Chicks become independent after 4-5 weeks. They may have up to two broods per season. They may begin building a second nest whilst still feeding chicks in the first and will start incubating whilst still feeding the fledglings. Some pairs have one or more helpers attending their nests, often these are unpaired males that then pair with the offspring.

Tiri was only the third recipient of translocated Rifleman and the first to receive birds from Hauturu/Little Barrier Island. Unlike many other species, Rifleman tend not to disperse very far when released. During the first breeding season on Tiri, only one nesting box was used, 5m from the release site.

The first Rifleman translocation was from Codfish to Ulva Islands, both near Stewart Island. Although only about 30 birds survived the release, within 5 years the estimated population on Ulva was around 300.

Learn more about rifleman at New Zealand Birds Online.

 
Photography by Simon Fordham ©