Tītipounamu Translocation 


After being absent from Rotokare for several decades, New Zealand’s smallest bird has finally returned! Last week, 60 tītipounamu were translocated from an intensively-trapped 1000 ha block on Egmont National Park to Rotokare. Translocation is a delicate process and we were privileged to have the most skilled bird catchers in the country—from Department of Conservation, Kevin Parker of Parker Conservation, the supporters of Tiritiri Matangi Island, and Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust—facilitating this process. The whole operation took three days, with the last bird being caught and released on Friday 26th April.

We’ve been working towards bringing titipounamu back for two years, collaborating with the Taranaki Mounga Project (TMP) to ensure that the first bird translocation off the Mounga will establish another secure and productive Taranaki population. It’s a perfect example of how biodiversity projects in Taranaki are supporting each other’s goals and aspirations and working towards regional restoration, sharing mutual Manaakitanga (generosity and care). We look forward to more translocations to and from Mounga Taranaki, with hopes that maybe one day, even special species like tieke/saddleback and hihi/stitchbird, both thriving at Rotokare, could be shared there. Big thanks to TMP for working with us on this fantastic project and here's to working together to help native bird populations at both sites flourish!

About the Bird

Tītipounamu/Rifleman is New Zealand's smallest bird, standing at 8-9cm long and weighing it at only 6g. Tītipounamu translates to 'small green', alluding to the bird's size and colour. While not endangered, tītipounamu populations have been on the decline thanks to their vulnerability to predators. The only other population in Taranaki is on the Maunga; populations across the country are scattered and scarce.