Manawatu Whiteheads

Endemic Whiteheads doing well in the Manawatu


As a photographer with an interest in our native birds there is one bird in particular that is not well known to the average person and many would probably not see, unless being very observant, is the Whitehead. Apart from the obvious, they have a mostly white head and are endemic to New Zealand. Trying to photograph a Whitehead can be frustrating as they move in small flocks from tree to tree. The Turitea Reserve is a great location where you will most likely encounter them along one of the many walkways through and around the reserve.

To the untrained you could be mistaken for thinking a noisy flock of birds around you is just sparrows or silvereyes, but look a little closely, as you could be among whiteheads. Preferring native and older exotic forest they are doing well in the Turitea bush.

Like our little Grey Warbler, who often become the host parents for the Shinning Cuckoo, the Whiteheads, at just 15cm, are the main host bird of the Long-tailed Cuckoo which is many times larger at a massive 40cm, so whole family groups all help to feed the large hungry Cuckoo chicks.

So do check out our wonderful walkways and keep your eyes and ears open, and camera ready!



Paul Vandenberg

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