Despite appearing to be perennially angry due to their arched eyebrows, the pīwakawaka / fantail are some of the friendliest birds that can be found in Southland. They are very common and native to New Zealand and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region. 

Fantails are insectivorous, feeding primarily on flying insects such as flies, moths, beetles, and spiders and if you spot a chick, it’s likely to be feeding (they’re fed every ten minutes!). 

Fantails are highly active and agile birds, constantly flitting and fluttering their wings while on the hunt for insects. They are known for their distinctive fan-shaped tail, which they often flick open and close while foraging. Fantails are also known for their friendly and inquisitive nature, often approaching humans and other animals with curiosity. Observing these playful birds is a delight for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. 


Read more on the pīwakawaka here.

Learn more about other birds in Southland: