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Print Size: 210mm x 297mm
The Saddlebacks or Tieke, its taxonomic family is also known as “wattlebirds”. All members of this family have coloured fleshy appendages on either side of the beak known as “wattles”. In the case of the saddlebacks, they are a vivid red in colour.
Tieke were once widespread throughout New Zealand’s mainland and island forests. Their decline began in the mid 19th century, both North Island saddleback (Philesturnus rufusater) and South Island saddleback (P. carunculatus) were close to extinction. The most endangered of the two species is the South Island saddleback, with only 650 birds in existence.
The North Island saddleback is now resident on nine large islands (7,000 ha) and is in a favourable position to survive. The South Island species is on 11 smaller islands (500 ha) and it needs translocating onto further predator-free islands if it is to recover.