Chatham Fernbird – It Was Very Good

Chatham Fernbird
Chatham Fernbird – John Gerrard Keulemans, 1873

Chatham Fernbird (Poodytes rufescens)

Chatham Fernbirds were native to Pitt and Mangere Islands of New Zealand. They were a small, long-tailed songbird with reddish above and white below markings, without the speckling found in other fernbirds. Its legs and feet were more robust than those of its mainland counterparts, while its wings were smaller.

The Chatham could reach lengths of around 7 inches, with a wingspan from It reached a length of 18 cm. Its wings were 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches in length. Observers noted that unlike other fernbirds the Chatham had a “peculiar whistle, very like that which a man would use in order to attract the attention of another at some distance.” The bird was insectivorous

Chatham Fernbird
Chatham Fernbird – Canterbury Museum

The Chatham Fernbird was first identified, and killed, in 1868. It was still common on Mangere Island in the 1870s. The last specimen was collected in 1895. By 1900 the species was considered extinct.

A combination of habitat loss, due to the importation of goats on its native island as well as predation from rats and cats, also introduced, is the most likely cause of extinction.

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Author: Jonathon

Doesn’t mix well with polite company; his two favorite topics being politics and religion. Would rather be out cycling, swimming, running, or camping. Misspent his youth reading genre-fiction; today, he is making up for it by reading large quantities of non-fiction literature. The fact that truth, in every way, is more fascinating than fiction still tickles him.

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