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The New Zealand Bellbird (Anthornis melanura) also known by its native name Korimako is a passerine bird endemic to New Zealandmarker. It has greenish coloration and is the only living member of the genus Anthornis. The bellbird forms a significant component of the famed New Zealand dawn chorus of bird song that was much noted by early European settlers. It has a bell-like song which is sometimes confused with that of the Tui. The species is common across much of New Zealand and its offshore islands as well as the Auckland Islandsmarker. The Māori language name is Korimako.

Distribution

The bellbird is found throughout both the main islands of New Zealand apart from the north of the North Islandmarker. Its population and distribution had been seriously affected by the introduction of European-style farming, which has led to the removal of native forests (the natural habitat of the bellbird). Another important factor is the introduction of predatory species such as cats, weasels, stoats, ferrets, rats and food-robbing species like wasps. Predators either eat the birds or consume eggs, while food robbers compete with the bellbird for its natural food sources of nectar, honeydew and insects. The decline occurred around the same time as many other New Zealand species, but for unknown reasons was reversed and the species is still common across much of New Zealand (Bartle & Sagar 1987).

Classification

There are four sub-species: A. melanura melanura, A. melanura dumerii, A. melanura oneho, and A. melanura obscura. The Chatham Island Bellbird, A. melanocephala, which became extinct in the early 20th century, was formerly classified as a subspecies of the New Zealand Bellbird, as A.melanura melanocephala.

Gallery

Image:Bellbird feeding.jpg|A bellbird feeding on New Zealand flax.Image:BellbirdMaunga.jpg|A bellbird at Mt. Maungatautari, Waikato.Image:AnthornisMaleFemale.jpgFile:Anthornis melanura -Tiritiri Matangi-8a.jpg|On Tiritiri Matangi Island

References

  • Bartle J & Sagar P (1987) "Intraspecific variation in the New Zealand Bellbird Anthoris melanura. Notornis 34 253-306


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