Family Plovers (Charadriidae)


Wrybill (Anarhynchus frontalis)


French: Pluvier anarhynque German: Schiefschnabel Spanish: Chorlitejo piquituerto

Anarhynchus frontalis

Quoy and Gaimard

, 1830,

Hauraki Gulf, North Island, New Zealand


This species has been linked particularly with Charadrius bicinctus. Monotypic.


New Zealand: breeds in C South I (Canterbury and Otago riverbeds); winters mainly in N North I.

Descriptive notes

20–21 cm; 43–68 g. Rather plump, greyish plover with conspicuous long bill curved to the right; male has black frontal bar and breastband. Female has duller,... read more


Gives a somewhat Charadrius hiaticula-like “weet” or “peep”, while flocks occasionally... read more


Breeds inland on large braided rivers, occupying large bare beds of shingle and sand, with... read more

Food and feeding

During breeding season takes aquatic invertebrates, including flatworms, annelids, gastropods, mites, spiders, and eggs, larvae, pupae and... read more


Lays late Aug to late Oct, with second clutch late Oct to late Dec. Monogamous on long-term basis. Solitary; holds vigorously defended... read more


Migratory. Moves from breeding grounds in C South I to mudflats of estuaries and harbours on N end... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Hunted prior to 1940; after hunting ceased, population increased, but stabilized by early 1960s, with c. 5000 birds. In 1994, total of 5111 birds counted, with c... read more

Recommended citation

Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Wrybill (Anarhynchus frontalis). 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 26 February 2020).