Point of Interest – Piwakawaka

FantailThroughout Te Mata Park, you will hear the friendly ‘cheet cheet’ call of the fantail, also known as Piwakawaka. One of New Zealand’s most common birds, the Fantail is one of the few native bird species that has been able to adapt to an environment greatly altered by humans. Easily recognised for its energetic flying antics, the fantail uses its broad tail to change direction quickly while hunting for insects. Their favourites are moths, flies, spiders, wasps, and beetles, although they sometimes also eat fruit. The fantail is quite short lived – the oldest bird recorded in New Zealand was three years old. They stay in pairs all year and are prolific breeders, with females laying as many as five clutches of two to five eggs in one season. Fantail young are fed about every 10 minutes – about 100 times a day – so it’s understandable that during waking hours the bird is almost never still, constantly seeking out flying insects. The cheeky fantail is not shy and will often flit within a few metres of people, hoping to catch any small flying insects that we humans have disturbed.