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:

 Emberiza citrinella



Conservation status:

 Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:

 Widespread and locally common


 16cm, 27g 


 9+ years possibly


 October - March


 Seeds and invertebrates

Yellowhammer, male - photographer Dr Kerry RodgersIntroduced into New Zealand between 1862 and the early 1870s and now found throughout the country in farmlands, orchards and open tussockland.

As the name suggests, the adult male has a bright yellow head; underparts are also yellow, there is brownish streaking on the sides of the face and on the crown, the breast has a cinnamon wash and the flanks are pale yellow. The adult female is duller with a more streaky appearance. Both have reddish-brown, dark-streaked upperparts, rufous rump and white outer tail feathers. The call is a ringing metallic ‘tink’ or ‘twick’; the male song is ‘chitty-chitty-chitty…sweee’ often characterised as ‘a little bit of bread and no cheeeeese’.

Yellowhammers eat a mix of seeds from introduced weeds, grasses, clover and cereals and invertebrates such as caterpillars, beetles, flies, bugs and spiders.

They form flocks in autumn and winter but are territorial during the breeding season from October to March. The nest is a cup of dry grass, lined with rootlets, moss, hair, wool and feathers. It is usually built on or very close to the ground in gorse, brambles, bracken, long grass, etc. The clutch of 3–5 whitish-pink eggs with dark brown scribbling lines is incubated mainly by the female for 12–14 days. Both parents feed the chicks which fledge at 12–13 days.

Yellowhammers are not very common on Tiritiri Matangi, but are often seen in the scrubby and more open areas around the edges of the bush.

Yellowhammer, female - photographer: Ian Southey

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

Photography by:  Dr Kerry Rodgers © (male - right) and by Ian Southey © (female - left)

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.