Tīeke (large) – New Zealand bird series two (Sold Out)
The saddleback or tīeke belongs to New Zealand’s unique wattlebird family (Callaeidae), an ancient group which includes the endangered kōkako and the extinct huia. It is a medium sized bird, and adults of both sexes have similar plumage.
The bird’s main feature is a conspicuous chestnut-coloured saddle on its back, but it also has chestnut on the tip of its tail, a black bill, black legs, and orange, “fleshy” wattles either side of its throat.
In the early 1960s, disaster struck the southern species. A boat accidentally brought ship rats to Big South Cape Island (largest of its three island homes), and quickly spread to the other two. The result was an ecological nightmare for many endemic species and caused the extinction of the Stewart Island snipe, Stead’s bush wren and the greater short-tailed bat.
The New Zealand Wildlife Service (now incorporated into the Department of Conservation) came to the rescue and saved the saddleback from extinction.
Early in 1964, the NZ Wildlife Service successfully transferred some North Island saddlebacks from Hen Island, Hauraki Gulf to nearby Whatapuke Island. This was possibly the first time the translocation of a species had been successfully carried out.
This led the way for the translocation of South Island saddlebacks from their rat-plagued islands to predator-free ones. The current population of over 700 birds is descended from the survivors of the 36 saddlebacks rescued in 1964. This method of translocating species to island refuges continues to be a major strategy of the Department of Conservation. The North Island saddleback is now resident on nine large islands (7,000 hectares) and is in a favourable position to survive. The South Island species is on 11 smaller islands (500 hectares) and it needs translocating onto further predator-free islands if it is to recover.
Print Size: H594mm x W420mm
Each print is signed and numbered
Professionally printed on 310gsm Hahnemühle German Etching 100% cotton rag Paper with UV protected archival quality inks
Edition number: 5
Out of stock