Our recent trip to Queenstown and a few hours on one of the walks in Glenorchy… We came across some beautiful birds… some of which I had never seen before… The Tomtit, Petroica macrocephala, is a small passerine bird in the family Petroicidae, the Australian robins. It is endemic to the islands of New Zealand, ranging across the main islands as well as several of the outlying islands. It has several other English names as well. There are several sub-species showing considerable variation in plumage and size. The species is not threatened and has adapted to the changes made to New Zealand’s biodiversity.
Tomtit – NZ
FEATURED: ANIMAL CAPTIONS & CONFESSIONS
The Tomtit is one of four species of the genus Petroica found in New Zealand, the ancestors of which having colonised from Australia. The species was once thought to have been descended from the Scarlet Robin, although more recent research has questioned this. It seems likely that there were two colonisation events, with the North Island Robin and the South Island Robin descended from one event and the Black Robin and Tomtit from another. The Tomtit is mostly a insectivore, feeding on small invertebrates such as beetles, caterpillars, spiders, moths, weta, earthworms and flies. Fruit is taken during the winter and autumn. Most subspecies feed in vegetation, waiting on a perch and watching for prey. Insects are also gleaned from branches and leaves. To Maori the miromiro is one of Maui’s birds and is a significant bird, being esteemed with the huia, the royal albatross and white heron. An observant person is spoken of as –“ he karu miromiro” – “having a tomtit eye” and the Maori called tomtits “scouts” or “torotoro” due to their habit of appearing from nowhere in the forest.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 Glenorchy Forest Queenstown South Island New Zealand March 2012
FEATURED MARCH 2012