Hihi (stitchbird) Translocation 

For the first time in c130 years, hihi (stitchbird) are back in Taranaki in 2017 (the name hihi means ‘rays of sunshine’ in Maori). One of New Zealand’s rarest and most vulnerable forest birds, with a global population of around 3,000, hihi are found in six other locations around the North Island. The only natural population left is on Hauturu-o-toi (Little Barrier Island). The other five are translocated and rely on supplementary feeding to maximise breeding and survival potential.  40 hihi were released into the sanctuary in April, following three years of planning. A very supportive partnership with OMV New Zealand, and support from community sponsors allows us to pursue this ambitious reestablishment of hihi in Taranaki.  Management routines are set-up, with guidance on the ground from Mhairi McCready (hihi expert) who travelled with the birds. Sugar water is provided as a supplementary food, changed regularly by volunteers. Artificial nest boxes are also provided to improve nest monitoring potential. A second translocation is possible, to top-up numbers for best chance of reintroduction success. After three months of monitoring, a minimum of 60% of the hihi are known to be present (still above average for hihi translocation). A huge thanks to Ngati Manuhiri, Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi, and the Hihi Recovery Group for their support and blessing. 

Female hihi                                           Male hihi