North Island saddleback female, close up of head. Photographer: Dick Veitch.

North Island saddleback female, close up of head

The saddleback or tīeke belongs to New Zealand's unique wattlebird family (Callaeidae), an ancient group which includes the endangered kōkako and the extinct huia. It is a medium sized bird, and adults of both sexes have similar plumage. The bird's main feature is a conspicuous chestnut-coloured saddle on its back, but it also has chestnut on the tip of its tail, a black bill, black legs, and orange, "fleshy" wattles either side of its throat.


Find out more

Learn more

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.