Birds of the Wairarapa and where to see them
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Field guide to the birds of Greytown Park

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Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Description: Adult male is jet black with bright yellow beak. Female is brown with duller beak. Mainly a ground feeder that hops more than walks (in contrast to swaggering walk of the ) Has clear melodious song especially in breeding season delivered from high points around territory. Song is similar to, but not as repetitive as, the . Can cause damage to orchard fruits.

Habitat: Common in gardens, parks, along hedges.

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)

Description: Similar size to . Brown upper parts cream white underparts with bold arrow shaped speckling especially on breast. Mainly a ground feeder cocking its head on the side listening for worms. Song distinguished from by the repetition of phrases "Remember Browning's", "Home thoughts from Abroad", "That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over." Liked by gardeners as they crack open snails on an "anvil" and eat them.

Habitat: Most often seen on urban lawns, especially after rain.

Grey Warbler (Gerygone igata)

Description: Small grey brown bird. Feeding habit of hovering and picking caterpillars and insects from leaves. White tips of tail displayed in feeding manoeuvre. Female builds enclosed pendulous nest and incubates eggs. Male defends territory repeatedly singing squeaky but musical trill more often heard than seen. Parasitised by and it is not unusual in summer to see two harassed warbler foster-parents feeding a cuckoo chick three times their size.

Habitat: Readily attracted by "squeaking". Widespread, found in established gardens, hedges, plantations or bush. Look for it moving quickly in the canopy of trees.

Size: 10 cm

Pied Fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa)

Description: A small, friendly brown-black bird with pale orange breast and large black and white tail which it fans frequently in flight. Uses tail as a rudder in its almost constant pursuit of insects.

Habitat: "Saw-like" song frequently heard. Attracted by "squeaking". Rub a piece of polystyrene on a licked bottle in the bush and a will usually be the first bird to respond.

Size: 12 cm

Tomtit (Petroica macrocephala)

Description: Small forest bird. Male has black head and upper parts, with white underneath. Female head and upper parts brown, light brown underneath. A pair occupies a defended territory throughout the year.

Habitat: More often heard than seen. Male song is a repeated " ti oly oly oly oh". Attracted by "squeaking" but approaches quietly and often just sits and watches and may not be noticed.

Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis)

Description: Small bird with grey green head and upper parts, pale buff belly and distinctive white eye ring. Quite mobile when non-breeding and give "chi-chi-chi" calls as they fly or feed. Cause a lot of damage to fruit especially grapes.

Habitat: Often in small flocks. Readily attracted by "squeaking". Will visit bird tables for fruit, fat or sugar water.

Size: 12 cm

Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae)

Description: In the shade appears black, and the beautiful blue-green iridescence only shows in the sun. White feather tufts on the throat are characteristic and an old name for the Tui was the "parson bird". Noisy whirring flight. Song is a mix of melodious notes interspersed with coughs, wheezes, clicks, and grunts. Clever mimic and can imitate many sounds, such as other birds, telephones, and even a milkman's musical call signal. It is our dominant honeyeater and will drive , and other tuis away from a feeding patch.

Habitat: In winter, commonly feeds on eucalyptus. In spring, Kowhai is a favourite food-tree.

Size: 30 cm

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