Rock wren feeding on flax nectar

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
Colin Miskelly
Posts: 684
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:31 pm

Rock wren feeding on flax nectar

Postby Colin Miskelly » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:40 am

Kia ora

Kate & I called into the eastern portal of Homer Tunnel after completing the Routeburn Track on 23 December 2018. One of the three rock wrens that we saw there had an orange forehead, apparently of flax pollen. Looking around the slope, we saw only two Phormium cookianum plants. One had no flower heads, but the other had about seven flower heads at peak flowering, full of nectar and pollen. This was about 30 metres from where we saw the bird. HANZAB and New Zealand Birds Online make no mention of nectivory by rock wrens. I am interested to hear of other observations of this.

Nga mihi

PS - We also saw a couple of rock wrens in a rock tumble on the Harris Saddle (Routeburn Track) the previous day.
Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Rock wren feeding on flax nectar

Postby Jim_j » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:36 pm

Hi Colin
Hopefully you might post a record of all the birds seen on the Routeburn on due course - similar to your list on the Kepler which I found very interesting.
Just re the rock wren - while I think it's very likely they also feed on nectar - could it also be that the pollen was a result of prospecting for insects in and around the flowers?
Cheers Jim

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