Yellowhead

Yellowhead
Audio: Radio New Zealand & Dept of Conservation. Images: Flickr.
Also known as:
Scientific Name:Mohoua ochrocephala
Māori Name:Mohua
Conservation status:Endangered
Found at The BrookNo

The mohua (Mohoua ochrocephala) or yellowhead is a small, insect eating bird which lives only in the forests of New Zealand's South Island and Stewart Island. A beautiful splash of bright yellow covers its head and breast while the rest of the body is brown with varying tinges of yellow and olive. The female is slightly less brightly coloured than the male. In the 1800s, the mohua was one of the most abundant and conspicuous of our forest birds, now it is the most threatened of its genus, Mohoua, which also includes the whitehead and the brown creeper. Unlike the other two members of its genus, the mohua has disappeared from large, relatively unchanged forests and is continuing to decline. Once mohua inhabited podocarp-hardwood forests (such as rimu, totara and miro). Now they are found only in beech forests with fertile soils where they can find plenty of food. When Europeans first arrived in New Zealand the species was still plentiful, but forest clearances and the introduction of new predators such as rats, stoats and possums all had a devastating effect on mohua survival. By 1900, the bird was disappearing from many of its traditional areas.

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