Bird ID: Bellbird or Stichbird?

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.
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Threeps
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Bird ID: Bellbird or Stichbird?

Postby Threeps » Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:16 pm

Birding in the Mahood-Lowe Reserve on the northern lower slopes of Taranaki Maunga yesterday and came across this bird. It looks to me like a stitchbird but it has been suggested by a fellow birder that its a bellbird. For me the white wing bar and the ear tufts strongly suggest a male stitchbird. There were bellbirds in the vicinity at the time kicking up a racket with both song and alarm calls.

The Mahood-Lowe Reserve is a 133-hectare forest wetland, which borders Egmont National Park. Active predator control is being undertaken but fencing is simply 3-4 strand wire and post. It is located around 40km to the north-west of Rotokare Scenic Reserve, the only location I am aware of in Taranaki where stitchbird regularly seen. These birds are protected by a predator free fence.
2020 06 20_6892-stitchbird.jpg
2020 06 20_6892-stitchbird.jpg (1.28 MiB) Viewed 275 times
2020 06 20_6890-stitchbird.jpg
2020 06 20_6890-stitchbird.jpg (1.17 MiB) Viewed 275 times
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Liam Ballard
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Re: Bird ID: Bellbird or Stichbird?

Postby Liam Ballard » Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:05 pm

I'd definitely say bellbird. The purple head and yellow-green body are quite distinctive for a male.
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Oscar Thomas
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Re: Bird ID: Bellbird or Stichbird?

Postby Oscar Thomas » Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:08 pm

Not sure what ear tufts you see, but take note of the olive-green plumage, deep purple head, black flight and tail feathers. Combined with the pale vent and flank spot this is a typical adult male NZ Bellbird, like in the below image. Stitchbirds don't tend to disperse far and are more brown, males with completely black heads, bright yellow shoulders and white brows. They also tend to sit with their tail erect rather than the droop of bellbirds.

https://www.birdoftheyear.org.nz/static ... llbird.jpg
https://www.instagram.com/oscarkokako/ - NZ List (211) Common Greenshank, Riverton Estuary
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Threeps
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Re: Bird ID: Bellbird or Stichbird?

Postby Threeps » Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:37 pm

Liam Oscar, thank you both for your comments and insight. These bellbirds are my bogey bird! I tend to see everything BUT a bellbird when I spot them.

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