Fantail having a bath in a puddle created by a tree root
Known for its friendly ‘cheet cheet’ call and energetic flying antics, the aptly named fantail is one of the most common and widely distributed native birds on the New Zealand mainland.
It is easily recognized by its long tail which opens to a fan. It has a small head and bill and has two colour forms, pied and melanistic or black. The pied birds are grey-brown with white and black bands.
Learn about fantail/pīwakawaka habitat, breeding, how they catch insects, and the fantail's' place in Maori mythology.
Cats, rats, stoats and mynas are threats to fantail/pīwakawaka.
In Tongariro, fantail/pīwakawaka are monitored to test the health of the forest, and to show whether pest control has worked in this area.
Find out what you can do for fantail/pīwakawaka.
Watch a video about one of New Zealand’s most-loved birds - the fantail or pīwakawaka - and the way they help us test the health of the forest.
Listen to or download recordings of fantail/pīwakawaka song.
The Bird Identification online course will help you identify the 10 New Zealand forest birds most commonly recorded during five minute bird counts.
New Zealand Birds Online Encyclopedia of New Zealand birds
DOC's 24 hour emergency hotline:
0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)
Call to report sick or injured wildlife, and whale or dolphin strandings.