The biology of the Snares fernbird, Bowdleria punctata caudata (Buller, 1894)
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Since the arrival of European settlers in New Zealand many species of native birds have declined, become restricted in distribution or even extinct. The New Zealand Fernbird (Bowdleria punctata) is no exception and the population has decreased, mainly because of the draining of its habitat to create farmland (Hamilton, 1885; Kirk, 1895; Handly, 1895). The South Island Fernbird was formerly abundant over most of Canterbury but is now absent (Oliver, 1955). However, fernbirds still remain plentiful in suitable habitats (pers. obs. at Totara River, Buller). Fernbirds typically inhabit dense ground cover of reeds, ferns or scrub growing about swamps, lagoons, or river flats and terraces. Although this habitat may border on rain forest, fernbirds do not penetrate far into the latter (pers. obs. at Virgin Flat and the Totara River, Buller).