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Passeriformes > Callaeidae

South Island Saddleback

Philesturnus carunculatus

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Identification

POWERED BY MERLIN

A medium-sized songbird endemic to New Zealand, confined to predator-free offshore islands and South 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 have smaller wattles and are chocolate brown for their first year. Listen for distinct calls resembling a blaring “cheeet ta-chet ta-chet ta-chet” sound. 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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South Island Saddleback

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