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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Zealand Wattlebirds
Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Family: Callaeidae
Sundevall, 1836


The small bird family Callaeidae (also named in some sources as Callaeatidae) is endemic to New Zealand. It contains three monotypic genera; of the three species in the family, only two survive and one of them, the Kokako, is an endangered species. A third, the Huia became extinct early in the 20th century.

The Callaeidae are often known as wattlebirds, a term that leads to confusion, as there are other, unrelated species with this same name, notably the large Australian wattlebirds of the family Meliphagidae, which are honeyeaters. For this reason New Zealand Wattlebirds is the informal name for this family used by the scientific community.[1]

Biology and evolution

The two surviving species are ground-dwelling songbirds, 26-38 cm in length. They inhabit dense forests, where they feed on insects. They have strong legs and featherless wattles behind the bill. Their wings are rounded and unusually weak, giving them very limited powers of flight. They are monogamous and maintain permanent territories.[2]

These birds seem to be remnants of an early expansion of passerines to New Zealand. They have no close relatives except the stitchbird, and their more distant relationships are likewise still unknown.[3]


  1. ^ Higgins, P.J. & J.M. Peter (eds) 2002. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 6: Pardalotes to Shrike-thrushes. Oxford University Press, Melbourne. ISBN 0-19-553762-9
  2. ^ Lindsey, Terence (1991). Forshaw, Joseph. ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 225. ISBN 1-85391-186-0.  
  3. ^ Ewen, John G.; Flux, Ian & Ericson, Per G. P. (2006): Systematic affinities of two enigmatic New Zealand passerines of high conservation priority, the hihi or stitchbird Notiomystis cincta and the kokako Callaeas cinerea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40(1): 281–284. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.01.026 PDF fulltext


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Parvordo: Corvida
Superfamilia: Corvoidea
Familia: Callaeidae
Genera: Callaeas - †Heteralocha - Philesturnus



Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Callaeidae on Wikimedia Commons.


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