The endemic rock slipper has been named Bird of the Year in New Zealand. The small and rare "Pīwauwau", as the Maori call it, lives only in alpine areas of the country's South Island.
The Forest and Bird organization conducts the popular poll each year to raise awareness of the threats to the Pacific nation's iconic bird species.
The rock slipper (Xenicus gilviventris) from the stub-tail family is only about ten centimeters long. The male has green-yellow plumage, the female is olive green. Striking are the long legs and the crampon-like feet, with whose long claws the birdie clings to rocks and snow. In New Zealand it is called "Rock Wren" or "South Island Wren". He doesn't fly very well and mostly jumps between rocks.
Threatened by pests and climate change
"It's worth the trip to see the pīwauwau in the Southern Alps," said Stephen Day, who managed the campaign for the bird. "They're tiny birds but full of character, and like so many other species, they're threatened by pests and climate change."
A vote for the rock slipper was a vote for climate protection, according to "Forest and Bird". The birds, which weigh only 20 grams, are already feeling the effects of global warming because predators such as rats and stoats are now able to climb higher and invade their habitat.
The Little Penguin (called Korora in New Zealand) came in second this year. The mountain parrot (kea) took third place.