Known for its friendly ‘cheet cheet’ call and energetic flying antics, the aptly named fantail is one of the most common and widely distributed native birds on the New Zealand mainland.
In Māori mythology the fantail was responsible for the presence of death in the world. Maui, thinking he could eradicate death by successfully passing through the goddess of death, Hine-nui-te-po, tried to enter the goddess’s sleeping body through the pathway of birth. The fantail, warned by Maui to be quiet, began laughing and woke Hine-nuite-po, who was so angry that she promptly killed Maui.
New Zealand status: Endemic
Conservation status: North and South Island forms are Not Threatened, Chatham Island form is At Risk–Naturally Uncommon
Found in: Throughout New Zealand
Source: Department of Conservation and licensed by greatbarrierisland.nz for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/