Grey warbler, Riroriro

Gerygone igata
Bird Songs
Grey warbler/riroriro song


New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Not Threatened

The grey warbler/riroriro is New Zealand’s most widely distributed endemic bird, and almost the smallest. Weighing just six grams, these tiny songbirds are usually recognised by their distinctive song rather than by being sighted. 

The grey warbler/riroriro is olive-grey on top, with a grey face and off-white underparts. The tail is darker grey, getting darker towards the tip, contrasting with white tips to the tail feathers, showing as a prominent white band in flight. The black bill is finely pointed, the eye is bright red, and the legs are black and very slender. 

They usually stay among canopy foliage but can recognised by their characteristic long-trilled song. The song is louder than expected, given the bird’s size. Only males sing, although females do give short chirp calls, usually as a contact call near the male. 

Find out more about grey warblers/riroriro

Adult grey warbler/riroriro. Credit: Oscar Thomas.