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Miromiro (Tomtit)

A newcomer to the Norwest in recent years is the Tomtit or Miromiro.  These charming and confiding little black and white forest birds have become more numerous in the district in the last decade or two.

They are tiny insect feeders, often found in native bush, but also increasingly common in pine plantations. 

Tomtits have a short trill call, usually sung strongest by the male, and often repeated every few minutes when calling to locate his mate.  Unlike the longer, sustained call of the Grey Warbler, the Tomtit call is short and sweet.

Some of the areas you may see and hear Tomtits are in the Woodhill Forest recreational areas, bush areas near the coast, from Goldies Bush near Bethells Beach to Atuanui Scenic Reserve near Glorit (map).  In Atuanui, there are at least two pairs resident along the Ridge Track, one near the start, and one about an hour’s walk in from there.

Tomtits have also become much more numerous in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, and respond quickly to areas protected by pest control, such as the Ark in the Park, at the Cascades.  Rats and possums are the biggest threat, as they will take eggs and chicks from nests.

Each Tomtit pair has an established territory that they maintain all year, and they usually keep the same partner

year after year.  From July, the males are especially busy, singing to defend their territory and later supporting the female by finding food, as she broods up to three nests a season.

You can learn more about birding in your area with OSNZ by going to www.osnz.org.nz and selecting the contacts page for Auckland Branch details.

Photo: Suzi Phillips