Tussock Bird or Blackish Cinclodes

Cinclodes antarcticus antarcticus
Local Name: Tussock-bird
Breeding Range: Falkland Islands
Length: 18cm.
Falklands Population: ~10,000 breeding pairs
World Population: as above (subspecies restricted to Falklands)

Blackish Cinclodes
Tussock bird

The subspecies Cinclodes antarcticus antarcticus is restricted to the Falklands, where it is fairly abundant. The main limitation to its distribution is its inability to thrive in the presence of introduced cats and rats. This effectively banishes it from East and West Falkland, and most of the larger islands. On rat-free islands it is abundant along rocky or sandy beaches, and is incredibly tame. Birds often follow humans, and will even perch on the foot of somebody who sits still. Small cup-shaped nests of grass are made under dense vegetation, with 1 to 3 eggs being laid in October. Eggs hatch after 2 weeks, and chicks fledge 2 weeks later. A second brood in December is common. Adults feed mainly on invertebrates amongst rotting kelp or tussac grass, but they also take scraps and excreta from seals and seabirds.

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Drawing by Mike Bingham, 2022

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