Whitehead

Mohoua albicilla

SUBFAMILY

Mohouinae

TAXONOMY

Fringilla albicilla Lesson, 1830, Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Mohoua à tête blanche; German: Weissköpfchen; Spanish: Cabeza Blanca.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.9 in (15 cm); female 0.4-0.6 lb (12.3-16.4 g), male 0.6-0.7 oz (16.6-19.3 g). Light reddish brown nape and upperparts with white head to creamy underparts.

DISTRIBUTION

North Island, New Zealand.

HABITAT

Native forest and scrub, occasionally woodland and exotic pines, up to 4,620 ft (1,400 m).

BEHAVIOR

Very social in nonbreeding season, with flocks up to 70 birds. In breeding season, form family parties and flocks of up to 10 birds.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Eat insects, as well as seeds and fruit, foraging from ground to canopy. Most prey gleaned from foliage and branches. Bills used to flake off bark fragments.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The nest is a compact cup in which two to four eggs are laid. Eggs variable in color from white to deep pink with yellowish to reddish brown markings. Male and female, or mainly female, incubate for about 17 days with fledging at 16-17 days. Nest commonly tended by three to four birds, including helpers.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Once abundant across North Island, now in moderate numbers only in forested areas. Plentiful on some offshore islands.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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