RiflemanTitipounamu / Tuke

Conservation status
Doing OK

The rifleman is New Zealand's smallest bird and never sits still. They are so full of energy that they may have up to two broods per season and even begin building a second nest while still feeding chicks in the first. Some pairs bring in extra helpers to support their extra nests.

Campaign Manager

Melissa Boardman

Melissa Boardman

Team Titipounamu are back to tell you why our tiniest bird is worthy of winning the Bird of the Year title! Titipounamu/riflemen are small, spherical and utterly adorable. They form life-long bonds with their mate and spend their days side by side, moving quickly through the forest looking for snacks. As our smallest native bird, titipounamu are absolutely tiny, they weigh less than two teaspoons of sugar! They can be sweet but also have a feisty side, they can often be found yelling at much bigger birds that venture into their territory. There's so much to love about these fast and furious little birds!

Melissa Boardman is the bird nerd behind Team Titipounamu. Melissa is a huge advocate for our tiniest native bird - you may have seen her on the news last year talking about one rather adventurous titipounamu pair in Wellington. She volunteers at Zealandia Ecosanctuary where she helps to monitor the local titipounamu population. Melissa is a bird illustrator and photographer, she loves sharing her experiences, photos and videos of native birds on her social media channels. Join us on social media with the hashtag #TeamTitipounamu and let’s get these tiny tree potatoes to the top spot this year! 


Photo: Craig McKenzie