The Tomtit is a small passerine bird with distinctive plumage and markings. It has a compact body, a round head, and a relatively large head compared to its body size. The males and females have different colouration. Males have a black head and upper body with a white belly, while females have a grey-brown head and upper body with a pale yellow belly.
Tomtit are native to New Zealand and can be found throughout the country, including forests, shrublands, and alpine habitats. They are adaptable birds and can be seen in various environments, from lowland forests to subalpine regions. They often inhabit areas with dense vegetation and tree cover.
Tomtit are insectivorous birds, primarily feeding on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. They have a quick and agile flight, allowing them to catch flying insects mid-air. They also forage on tree trunks and branches, gleaning insects from the bark. In addition to insects, they may consume nectar, berries, and seeds.
Tomtit breed during the New Zealand summer, forming monogamous pairs. They build cup-shaped nests in tree hollows, crevices, or cavities in rocks or buildings. The female lays a clutch of eggs, and both parents participate in incubation and raising the chicks. The male often helps with feeding the young.
The Tomtit is not currently classified as a threatened species. However, certain subspecies, such as the South Island Tomtit (Petroica macrocephala macrocephala), have experienced declines in some regions due to habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals. Conservation efforts focus on protecting their habitats and controlling invasive predators.
Tomtit can be found in various forested habitats, where they rely on native trees and shrubs for foraging and nesting. They are often associated with podocarp and beech forests. They may be attracted to various native tree species, including totara, rimu, kahikatea, mataī, and various shrubs that provide food sources and nesting sites.