The Fantail / Piwakawaka

The Fantail / Piwakawaka

by | Sep 29, 2018

The Fantail is named after its fan like tail, these birds are playful and friendly. Fantails tend to follow humans on walking tracks, this is because they disturb the ground stirring up the flies and other small insects for the fantails to snack on.

The Fantail is one of the few native bird species that has coped well with the extensive conversion of lowland native forest to farmland. The New Zealand Fantail is widespread in population and quite common. This widespread population is due to the Fantails utilization of habitats, including both native and exotic forests and shrub land habitats.

The Fantail is a dark grey or grey-brown with a yellow/orange belly, with a white throat and white markings over the eyes. It grows to 16 cm in length- half of which is the tail; which as the name implies is often seen fanned out.

In Maori the Fantail has 20-30 different names including the most common Piwakawaka and Tiwakawaka. The Maori people consider the appearance of a Fantail to be associated with death. When a Fantail is seen inside a house it is considered to be bad luck and the news of death is imminent.

On our private walking track it is very common to spot Fantail following you make your way along the track. And our guides have become quite talented at snapping a picture of the very fast little birds. Check out some of their awesome snaps below. To see more pictures of our tours, check out our Instagram @glacierlaketours