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Passeriformes > Callaeidae

North Island Saddleback

Philesturnus rufusater

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Identification

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A medium-sized songbird endemic to New Zealand, confined to predator-free offshore islands and North Island mainland sanctuaries. Glossy black plumage with distinct chestnut saddle across the back, which gives the bird its name. Note the bright reddish-orange wattles on either side of the bill. Juveniles lack the shine in plumage and show dusty brown tips to the black body feathers and smaller wattles. The species is often heard before it is seen, with loud vocalizations resembling a blaring “cheet te-te-te-te.” Constantly moves noisily as it restlessly forages on the floor and through the canopy. Flicks over leaves and digs into rotting logs with its strong bill in search of invertebrates. Distinguished from Eurasian Blackbird by chestnut saddle and wattles.

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North Island Saddleback

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