Little robin returns to Pukeiti after 112 years

A tiny native bird has returned to Pukeiti Garden for the first time in 112 years after intensive trapping has created a safe haven.

The toutouwai (North Island Robin) weigh as little as 27 to 30gms and they have been spotted around the cafe at Pukeiti Gardens several times in the past few weeks.

Towards Predator-Free Taranaki project manager Toby Shanley captured a video of the tiny bird and says its return is exciting.

“Toutouwai have been extinct from Egmont National Park for 112 years, but they’re coming back thanks to intensive predator control,” Shanley says.

Taranaki Mounga Project have led an intensive rat trapping programme in a 1000 hectare block on the north eastern side of Mount Taranaki below North Egmont.

It has included 2160 self-resetting A24 gas powered traps, creating a safe environment for robin to survive and breed. Almost 100 robin have now been released in this safe area through 2017 and 2018.

“The sighting at Pukeiti, around 15 kilometres away, shows that with predator control robins are breeding and spreading to other areas,” Shanley says.

“It’s great to see them settle at Pukeiti where Taranaki Regional Council has intensive predator control already in place.”

The video captured by Towards Predator-Free Taranaki project manager Toby Shanley