NZ Bird of the Year hopeful, the Tomtit

Bird of the Year

You’ve only got until the 15th of November to vote. This year, make it count and vote for the New Zealand bird with the funny name – the mighty, mighty tomtit!

With the polls now open at Bird of the Year 2020 you need to exercise your democratic right once more and cast your vote for a little bird with a big heart. 

Need to know more about the tomtit? Here’s our quick fact guide…

  1. They breed a lot (which explains why they’re not endangered). Each tomtit pair can raise up to three broods between September and January each year.
  1. They have large heads but are still quite small. The average bird is about 13 cm long.
  1. While it belongs to the Australasian robin family of birds, and the female bird is sometimes mistaken for a robin, it’s definitely not a robin. 
  1. They have a varied diet of bugs and insects, including spiders, beetles, flies, worms, flies, moths and wetas. They’ll find food both on the forest floor and flying through the trees. They’ll also eat small fruits in autumn and winter.
  1. Their main approach to foraging is much the same as the piwakawaka (fantail), as they perch on a branch and then swoop in to snatch prey form the air.
  1. Chicks become fledglings between 17 and 20 days after birth. At this time they’re fed by both parents, however the male takes over all duties when the mother starts renesting. At 35 days the children become fully independent.
  1. They can be found from Northland to Stewart Island, and prefer forests habitats. While there are a lot in the central North Island and along the west coast of the South Island you’ll also find the odd bird in a garden or backyard.