Family New Zealand Wattlebirds (Callaeidae)

Near Threatened

South Island Saddleback (Philesturnus carunculatus)


French: Créadion rounoir German: Südinsel-Sattelvogel Spanish: Tieke de Isla Sur
Other common names: Jackbird (juvenile)

Sturnus carunculatus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Queen Charlotte Sound, South Island, New Zealand


Often treated as conspecific with P. rufusater (which see). Monotypic.


New Zealand, in extreme NE & SW South I (Motuara I, in Queen Charlotte Sound, and islands off Fiordland) and islands off Stewart I; all current populations are the result of translocations.

Descriptive notes

25 cm; 61–94 g, male average 85 g, female average 75 g. Medium-sized passerine with strong slightly downcurved bill, long tail with rounded tip and distinctive downward... read more


Noisy and boisterous, though apparently less so than P. rufusater. Song the commonest... read more


All current populations are at sites where species has been translocated. At successful... read more

Food and feeding

Food predominantly invertebrates and berries, occasionally honeydew, nectar of flax (Phormium cookianum) and fruit of the... read more


Timing and frequency probably density-dependent, generally breeding in austral spring and summer, with early-autumn records only when food... read more


Adults sedentary and territorial all year. Juvenile dispersal in general probably less than 3 km.... read more

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Probably Near-threatened. When tretaed as conspecific  with P. rufusater, the enlarged species is considered Near Threatened. Confined to small... read more

Recommended citation

Scofield, P. (2020). South Island Saddleback (Philesturnus carunculatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 30 March 2020).