Story: Small forest birds

Juvenile North Island saddlebacks

The plumage of young North Island saddlebacks (tīeke) is similar to that of adults, but lacks the paler line along the top edge of the saddle. As they grow, the red wattles at the base of the bill become larger. South Island saddleback juveniles are chocolate brown over most of their body. When Europeans first settled in New Zealand, saddlebacks were common, and the South Island juveniles were known as jackbirds.

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Department of Conservation
Reference: 10028821
Photograph by Dick Veitch

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Sound file from Birds of New Zealand. Compact disc. © Viking Sevenseas NZ, 1980 (PO Box 152, Paraparaumu). All rights reserved.

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How to cite this page:

Christina Troup, 'Small forest birds - Saddlebacks and stitchbirds', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 August 2022)

Story by Christina Troup, published 24 Sep 2007, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015