The rock wren (Xenicus gilviventris) is a little alpine bird that lives under rocks beneath winter snows. Along with the rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris), the wren belongs to the family Acanthisittidae. DNA analysis suggests that they are living relatives of the earliest passeriform (perching) birds. These birds date back at least 85 million years, when New Zealand split from Gondwana.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Graeme Loh
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