Tieke or Saddleback, on Tiritir Matangi island, New Zealand

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Tieke bird or Saddleback, Philesturnus carunculatus,  on Tiritir Matangi island, New Zealand

Get high resolution version: Tieke or Saddleback, on Tiritir Matangi island, New Zealand, originally uploaded by blather.

Tieke, Saddleback, on Tiritir Matangi island, New Zealand. Largest of the arboreal insectivores in New Zealad’s forest ecosystem, they’re classed vulnerable. They’re not shy. This one gave our yards to me for being anywhere near it’s water bath!

The recovery of the Saddleback is considered by many to be one of New Zealand’s greatest conservation success stories.

There are two sub-species: North Island saddleback (Philesturnus carunculatus rufusater) and South Island saddleback (P.c.carunculatus). All saddlebacks are extinct on the mainland, and live either in captivity or on islands. The most endangered of the two species is the South Island saddleback, with only 650 birds in existence. There’s several thousand North Island Saddlebacks now.

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Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of Blather.net, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.