Conservation status
Doing OK

This flycatcher topped Bird of the Year in 2006. Their charm won us over by being indifferent towards humans as we walk past or watch quietly, particularly when it comes to building their beautiful and detailed nest – scrutinising cobwebs, mossy greens, and skeletons of leaves before constructing their snug, fern-lined home.

Campaign Manager

Lucia Taylor

The pīwakawaka is Aotearoa's cheerful little sweetheart! The fantail are known for being friendly and vocal, they connect with other forest species such as whiteheads and silvereyes through their shared interest of tiny insects, teaming up to get their kai, and also are very social to us humans!

The pīwakawaka also plays a very strong role in Māori mythology, in the myth of Māui and Hine-nui-te-pō, Māui enlists the help of some forest birds to act as look out while he tried to defeat Hine-nui-te-pō, the goddess of death; but our friendly fantail was too cheerful for his own good, not being able to help but giggle, blowing Māui's cover! This is why you may have heard the warning of a pīwakawaka flying into your home symbolising death. But never fear, when you see this friendly little fluffball, the cheerfulness and optimism is contagious and can brighten even the darkest days!
Vote for the fantail/pīwakawaka: Aotearoa's sweetheart for Bird of the Year 2022!! #AotearoasSweetheart