- Richard Johnson
About the Stitchbird
The Stitchbird Notiomystis cincta or Hihi is a vulnerable species, thought to be closely related to the nectar feeding honeyeaters (Meliphagidae). It was once widespread throughout the North Island and offshore islands of New Zealand until the 1840's, but the introduction of mammalian predators such as rats and cats, loss of habitat and bird diseases from newly introduced European species have seen the mainland population become extinct. It now has a very small population and range, with the only natural group existing on the Little Barrier Islands. Birds have been introduced to other predator free islands since the 1980's, but these translocated populations are still very fragile, with some being more successful than others. Much work, therefore, is still needed, with the main aims of the Department of Conservation's Stitchbird Recovery Plan being to ensure the protection of the Little Barrier Island population, as well as maintaining existing and introducing and establishing new populations.