Petroica macrocephala

Photo by Glenda Rees (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
tomtit (en); rouxinol-maori (pt); miro mésange (fr); petroica carbonera (es); Maorischnäpper (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Petroicidae

This species is endemic to New Zealand, being found in both the North and South islands, as well as several of the outlying island, including the Chatham islands and the Aukland islands and the Snares.

These birds are 13 cm long and weigh 11-20 g.

The tomtit is mostly found in temperate forests,but also in grasslands, arable land, plantations and within urban areas.

They are mostly insectivorous, taking beetles, caterpillars, moths, wetas, flies, but also spiders, earthworms and some fruits, especially during autumn and winter.

Tomtits breed in September-January. The female builds the nest alone, consisting of a cup made of twigs, bark, moss and sometimes also dry leaves, lichens and spider webs. The nest is lined with moss and feathers and placed in a vine tangle, hollow branch, cavity in a trunk or stump or less often among scrubs, 0,5-8 m above the ground. They also use nest boxes. The female lays 2-4 white eggs with brown and grey spots and blotches, which she incubates alone for 17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 17-21 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from the parents for another 3-4 weeks.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as locally common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to predation pressure from introduced species

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