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Yellowhead - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by tony.saw
Routeburn Track, south Island, New Zealand, October 2009

Alternative names: Mohua; Bush Canary

Mohoua ochrocephala


14 - 15 cm (5½-6 in). Very similar in shape and size to Whitehead.

  • Bright yellow head and underparts
  • Contrasting black bill, eyes and legs
  • Yellowish-brown upperparts
  • Females and juveniles similar with crown and nape shaded brown


New Zealand: found on South Island and Stewart Island.
Uncommon and very patchily distributed.


This is a monotypic species[1]..
Sometimes considered conspecific with Whitehead.


Lowland red beech forests. Locally up to 900m.
Formerly also in podocarp-hardword forest.



They feed high in the trees and the diet includes insects.


Breeding season from October to February. They nest in small cavities in large, old trees. Their clutch contains 1-4 eggs which are incubated by the female alone, though both parents care for the young. Nests may be parasitised by Long-tailed Koel.


Residents species with some seasonal movements.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553422
  3. New Zealand Birds Onlline

Recommended Citation

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