The Rock Wren, (Xenicus gilviventris), is a small New Zealand wren (family Acanthisittidae) endemic to the South Island of New Zealand. It is sometimes known as the South Island Wren, a name used to separate it from the unrelated Rock Wren of North America. While the species is currently restricted to alpine areas of the South Island, fossil evidence indicates it was once present on the North Island as well. It is the rarer of the two surviving species of New Zealand wrens and is threatened by introduced mammals.
The Rock Wren is the only surviving species in the genus Xenicus, and is thought to have been closely related to the formerly more widespread Bush Wren. Like the Bush Wren and the Rifleman it is a poor flier, rarely flying more than two metres off the ground and for distances more than 30m. It is highly terrestrial, feeding in low scrub and open scree and rockfalls in alpine areas.
A University of Otago study of over 2,000 sightings between 1912 and 2005 showed areas the wren inhabited had declined by 24% since 1984.
- ^ "Rock wren sightings sought as figures fall". Otago Daily Times. 30 December 2008. http://www.odt.co.nz/on-campus/university-otago/37686/rock-wren-sightings-sought-figures-fall. Retrieved on 2008-12-30.