Fine Art

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Superclassis: Sarcopterygii
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Euornithes
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Ornithurae
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Cladus: Telluraves
Cladus: Australaves
Ordo: Passeriformes

Familia: Acanthisittidae
Genus: Acanthisitta
Species: Acanthisitta chloris
Subspecies: A. c. chloris – A. c. citrina – A. c. granti

Acanthisitta chloris (Sparrman, 1787)

Type locality: New Zealand; erroneously "Cape of Good Hope" (in Sparrman)

Sitta chloris (protonym)

Primary references

Sparrman, A. 1787. Museum Carlsonianum, in quo novas et selectas aves, coloribus ad vivum brevique descriptione illustratas, suasu et sumtibus generosissimi possessoris, fasc. II., pl. 25–50. Holmiae (Stockholm): Ex Typographia Regia. BHL DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.62901 Reference page. no. xxxiii, pl. 33 BHL

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Grenadier
English: Rifleman
español: acantisita verdoso
suomi: Metsävilistäjä
français: Xénique grimpeur
magyar: Álcsuszka
Māori: Tītitipounamu
norsk: Skogklatresmett


The Rifleman, Acanthisitta chloris, (Māori: Tītipounamu) is a small insectivorous passerine bird that is endemic to New Zealand. It belongs to the Acanthisittidae family, also known as the New Zealand wrens, of which it is one of only two surviving species. The Rifleman resembles a wren in form but is not related to the family of true wrens, Troglodytidae, nor the fairy-wrens of Australia.


The Rifleman is New Zealand's smallest endemic bird with fully grown adults reaching around 8 cm. The male Rifleman is bright green on the dorsal side while the female is of a more somber brownish tone and her head and back are flecked with ochre. Male birds typically weigh around 6 g, females 7 g. Both birds are white on their under surfaces and have white eyebrow stripes. They have short, rounded wings, a very short tail, and a long thin awl–like bill which is slightly upturned for insertion into cracks. The rifleman flies quickly with a wing beat producing a characteristic humming sound like a humming bird.

Distribution and habitat
Rifleman on South Island

The true habitat of this bird is thinly wooded forests, but other similar New Zealand species live near rocky outcrops. The Rifleman is the most widespread species of acanthisittids in the two islands of New Zealand. However the bird occurs only rarely in latitudes north of Te Aroha. The North Island subspecies, granti, occurs mainly in lowland Tawa forest, while the south island subspecies, chloris, is found in high altitude beech forest or lowland areas forested with podocarp.



The Rifleman is insectivorous and searches for maggots and small insects on tree trunks and among leaf litter on the forest floor. The Rifleman searches for food in a similar way to the Treecreeper. The bird begins its search from the base of a tree and climbs up it progressively, spiralling up around the trunk. Upon finishing its search of a particular tree, the bird glides to the foot of a neighbouring tree and begins its search again.


Acanthisittids build their nest in rock fissues, holes in tree trunks, or even in cavities in the ground. The nest entrance is often so narrow that the bird struggles to get inside. The nest most commonly has a dome shape and is finely interwoven with blades of grass, down feathers and other kinds of light material. Brooding lasts 13–15 days with the female laying 4-5 eggs. Two broods per year are common.


1. ^ BirdLife International (2008). Acanthisitta chloris. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 18 February 2009.

* Buller, W.L. Birds of New Zealand, 1888.
* Oliver, W.R.B. New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Birds, Fine Art Prints

Birds Images

Biology Encyclopedia

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Home - Hellenica World