It is only with recent phylogenetic work that the true significance of the Acanthisittidae has been recognised, reports Michelsen-Heath.
"The Acanthisittidae is an ancient lineage, part of the early radiation of song birds that until a 1000 years ago included at least seven species in five genera. DNA studies suggests that New Zealand wrens are suboscines, suborder Oligomyodi, and that they are sufficiently distant from other suboscine passerines to warrant recgonition as a separate infraorder, the Acanthisittides."
Only the rock wren and the rifleman remain, the others becoming extinct long before Europeans arrived and probabaly due to the introduction of the Pacific rat.
The Stout-legged wren was the largest of seven species of wren to have become extinct. They were remarkable for being flightless, the smallest birds in the world known to have been unable to fly. The stout-legged wren used its powerful legs and feet to scamper about the forest floor, more like a mouse than a bird. There were North and South Island stout-legged wrens.
— Narena Olliver, Greytown, 2008
Other common names: —
Atua, green wren, Matuhi, Matuhituhi, Hurupounamu
Where to find: —
Illustration description: —
NZ Post stamp
Michelsen-Heath, Sue, & Gaze, Peter, Notornis, 2007, Vol.54;71-78.
Page date & version: —
Saturday, 7 June 2014; ver2009v1