This unique shorebird breeds on gravel shoals along braided rivers, where its grey colouration offers excellent camouflage in an otherwise very exposed environment. Wrybills are classified as threatened due to habitat loss, disturbance and predation by introduced mammals. Only 5000 remain, with 15% breeding in the Upper Waitaki Basin on South Island. Most non-breeders migrate to the North Island where they are found on mudflats and in coastal pools.
Fig. 1. Head on view showing the very distinctive bill which curves to the right in all individuals.
Fig. 2 This bizarre shorebird presents as a mixture between a sandpiper and a small plover.
Fig. 3 Another head on view showing the unique bill.