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..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

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


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.