Family Stitchbird (Notiomystidae)


Stitchbird (Notiomystis cincta)


French: Hihi de Nouvelle-Zélande German: Stichvogel Spanish: Hihi

Meliphaga cincta

du Bus de Gisignies

, 1839,

North Island, New Zealand


Proposed race hautura (described from Little Barrier I) said to differ from birds in rest of species’ former range in shorter wing and yellower breast of male, but some overlap in characters apparent. Treated as monotypic.


Little Barrier I (Hauturu), in outer Hauraki Gulf, off N North I (New Zealand). Reintroduced on Tiritiri Matangi I, in Hauraki Gulf, and Kapiti I, off SW coast of North I; and at two sites on main North I, at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, near Wellington, and at Maungatautari, C Waikato#R.

Descriptive notes

c.18 cm; male 29–42 g, female 26–35 g. Medium-sized passerine with moderately long, slender and slightly decurved bill; moderately long tail, often held cocked.... read more


Range of mainly high-pitched vocalizations, some given throughout year, others only in breeding... read more


Dense native forests, with some movement between forest types to exploit seasonal flowering or... read more

Food and feeding

Diet nectar, fruit and small arthropods. Arthopods mainly insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), but also spiders (Araneae). Proportions... read more


Recorded Sept/Oct–Feb/Mar, but not synchronous within populations; first eggs usually mid-Oct but annual variation (e.g. on Kapiti I... read more


Sedentary. Individuals move widely within home ranges, up to several kilometres daily, to exploit... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in North Island of New Zealand EBA. Rare. Natural population confined to Little Barrier I, where current estimated population... read more

Recommended citation

Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & de Juana, E. (2019). Stitchbird (Notiomystis cincta). 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 19 March 2019).