Grey Gerygone Facts and Photos

Information about the Bird Grey Gerygone

The grey warbler or riroriro (Gerygone igata) is an insectivorous bird in the family Acanthizidae endemic to New Zealand. Its natural habitat is temperate forests. Also sometimes called grey gerygone, teetotum and rainbird.

Smaller than the silvereye weighing about 6.5 grams this 11cm long bird is grey-brown (tending to olive green tint) above and has a pale grey face, throat and breast and has an off white abdomen, tinged with yellow. The tail is white underneath and dark brown on top with white tips visible in flight, it also has a distinctive ruby-red eye. The female has similar plumage but is smaller in size. The young are paler with no hint of yellow and have brown eyes. The male's song often starts with a series of three squeaks and builds into a distinctive long plaintive wavering trill that rises and falls. They sing throughout the year but most vigorously when nesting, during spring. More commonly heard than seen.
Common throughout New Zealand main islands and many off-shore islands, absent from open country and alpine areas. At home in native and exotic forests it may be found almost anywhere there is some tree or shrub cover. Among their size of New Zealand birds they skirmish and reconcile for popularity with the rifleman.
Grey warblers mainly feed upon spiders, insects and their larvae. They are very active, almost never stay still as they move from one perch to another.
Grey warblers are unique among New Zealand birds in building a pear-shaped structure with a side entrance near the top. The male collects material, but the female builds the nest from grass, leaves, rootlets and moss, held together with spider web threads, anywhere from 2 to 25 feet above the ground, lined with feathers and other soft material. It is attached to a twig at the top, but is often also secured at the back or sides. The male is not involved in nest building or incubation, but helps to feed nestlings and fledglings. The 3 to 6 eggs, each laid 2 days apart, are pinkish-white with fine reddish-brown speckles all over. The eggs, weighing 1.5 grams are about 17 millimetres long and 12 millimetres wide. Incubation takes about 19 days and the chicks spend another 15 to 19 days in the nest.
Their breeding season is from August to January and they usually manage two clutches, but the shining bronze cuckoo often parasitizes this second clutch leaving a single egg for the warblers to incubate and rear.

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