You’ll hear its long melodic song trilling 30 to 100 metres high above you before you can spot this bird. Search the skies and you may spot it over the dunes or the paddocks. He aha tērā? What is that?
Photo by Miraz Jordan. Used with permission.
Answer: it’s a kaireka, skylark:
Identification: Length: 18 cm; Weight: 38 g
Similar species: New Zealand pipit, Yellowhammer
A small brown and creamy-buff bird with off-white underparts, streaked breast and throat, variegated brown upperparts, a sturdy horn-coloured bill that is yellow-brown at the base, and pink legs and feet with a long slightly curved hind toe. Adults have a faint mask of pale feathers around and behind the eye, and a small streaked crest on the hind crown that is raised when alert.