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Length: 20â€“21 cm (8-8½")
Endemic to New Zealand: breeds in northern river beds on South Island; winters on North Island.
Population This is a very uncommon bird, with a population of only around 5000 individuals. It can be reliably found during the southern hemisphere winter (May-Aug) at the Miranda Sanctuary at the Firth of Thames, south of Auckland, (North Island).
A monotypic species.
Breeds in fast moving streams and rivers. Winters on coastal mudflats.
When flushed often return to the same area to continue feeding. Frequently stands on one leg.
The bill is specialized to take Mayfly larvae from under rocks in fast moving fresh water streams. On wintering grounds they may forage in the mud in large groups. Their diet includes sandhoppers, mudworms, etc.
Lays late August to late October, with second clutch late October to late December. Monogamous on long-term basis. Solitary; holds vigorously defended territories. The nest is a shallow scrape in the gravel, lined with many small stones. The normal clutch is 2. Incubation is shared and is protracted from 30-36 days. Chicks fledge after 35-40 days. Chicks are guarded by one or both parents during their first 3 weeks becoming increasingly independent before fledging.
Most common call is a somewhat Charadrius hiaticula-like weet or peep. Flocks occasionally engage in excited high-pitched 'chattering'.
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