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Figure 12.12: Change in distribution of the wrybill

Return to the point in the document where this figure is located.

Note: Coloured areas indicating wrybill presence have been thickened to improve visibility.

Wrybill (Anarhynchus frontalis)

Photo of a Wrybill.

Wrybills are small endemic shorebirds that are highly specialised for breeding in braided rivers. Their unique bill is adapted to finding mayfly and caddisfly larvae under riverbed stones. They migrate north each year, with the most wrybill wintering in the large harbours around Auckland.

Within their current breeding range, wrybill have disappeared from most small rivers, and are now confined to several large catchments. About 5,000 remain, and the species is classified as nationally vulnerable. The main threats to wrybill include mammalian predators (particularly stoats), flooding, and the loss and degradation of suitable habitats.

The maintenance of the species' range in the long term will require predator control, coupled with a reduction in the many human impacts on riverbeds.


Data source and photo: Courtesy of the Department of Conservation.

Text description of figure

This figure shows the distribution of the wrybill on a map of New Zealand: Its estimated pre-human distribution, during the 1970s and current distribution. It shows that its range has contracted and it now occupies about 60 per cent of its original range.