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..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

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

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

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..


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.