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Yellowhead and Brown Creeper can often be found together in flocks, hopping and flitting through the forest on Ulva island in a feeding frenzy with other bird species such as Kakariki, Fantails and Saddleback.


While the Brown Creeper (Pipipi) is found over the South Island and Stewart Island, the Yellowhead (Mohua – also found on our $100 note) is in trouble and is restricted to a few areas in the South island which has low predator numbers due to effective pest control and predator free offshore islands. They nest in holes in trees so have no way of escape when a rat or stoat pays a visit.

The Brown Creeper weaves an open cup shaped nest high up in the forest canopy and goes largely unseen due to its brown camouflage and its habit of foraging up high. Their song can often be heard even if the bird is not seen.


The Yellowhead – Mohua is named after its bright yellow head and breast and is also known as the Bush Canary. They are sometimes confused with the more widespread Yellow Hammer which originated from Europe. An easy reference is Yellowhead don’t come out of the forest and the Yellow Hammer generally don’t go in.

Forced fostering

Both the Mohua and Pipipi have the unfortunate honor of being the chosen one to foster the Long-tailed Cuckoos chicks. They have no say in this, and find themselves diligently raising a colossal chick hatched from an egg rudely placed there by a cuckoo, displacing their own offspring.

Both these birds can be seen and heard on a trip to Ulva Island.

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