Once common in the South Island and on Stewart Island, this bold little battler is now an endangered species. For several decades, the mōhua has had to battle it out with rats and stoats and compete with wasps for food.
To add to the woes for the mōhua, over the past few years New Zealand has experienced some particularly warm summers, which scientists say we can expect more of as the climate heats up. The warmer weather increases the amount of beech tree seeds. This causes a spike in predator numbers as mice and rats take advantage of the increased food supply and predators take advantage of all the mice and rats.
When the predators run out of food, they inevitably turn to eating native birds such as mōhua, as well as their chicks and their eggs. Because mōhua are hole nesters they are particularly vulnerable because they cannot escape an approaching predator.
The early settlers named the mōhua the bush canary as they flocked in large numbers and brought the forests alive with their loud melodius songs. The Mōhua Charitable Trust is working hard to protect the mōhua through restoration and pest control projects so the forests can once again sing loud.