The land mass that was to become New Zealand split away from the supercontinent Gondwana about 85 million years ago. The ancestors of several of New Zealand’s birds – including the New Zealand wren family – may have been on board the drifting land.
From around 55 million years ago, New Zealand has been separated from the nearest large land mass, Australia, by a gap of about 2,000 kilometres. The birds that have arrived in New Zealand since then have crossed this large body of water – most likely during westerly gales.
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Animation by Rupert Sutherland
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