Ryan Photographic - Xenicidae - New Zealand wrens

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Family Xenicidae

The Family Xenicidae, the New zealand wrens, is restricted to New Zealand. There are currently three living species: the rock wren, the bush wren and the rifleman. The rock wren and bush wren are only found on South Island while the rifleman lives on both North and South Islands. The bush wren is rare and seldom seen. Rock wrens may be locally conspicuous, gleaning insects from alpine rocks. I have seen them around the entrance to the Homer Tunnel but have yet to get a good photograph. Riflemen are reasonably common in primary forest.

The fourth member of the family is extinct. The Stephens Island wren, Traversia lyalli, was known only from Stephens Island. Legend has it that the entire population was eliminated by the lighthouse keeper's cat. The name of this feline is unknown but should live in infamy as the only individual ever responsible for the extinction of an entire species ...


Traversia lyalli Stephens Island wren

Traversia lyalli Styephen's Island wren

Traversia lyalli Stephens Island wren now extinct. Eliminated by the lighthouse keeper's cat. This was the only flightless passerine bird.

Takapourewa, Stephens Island

Stephen's Island or Takapourewa is a zoological ark, home to many endangered species.







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