This is a New Zealand Fantail. These little birds are figuratively part fighter jet. They are known to swoop in on the foothills of hikers and pick bugs out of the air that the hikers kick up as they tramp along the trails. Their large fanned tails allow them to cut on a dime in mid-air. They are impressive creatures to watch and very hard to photograph.
Fantails like to stay in the thick forests and they move so fast it is hard to snap a frame that isn’t out of focus. This particular little bird seemed more interested in me than most. I had spent nearly three weeks in New Zealand trying to get a descent shot of this species as my wife and I made our way across the country. I had a few shots, but none of them were worth much. Then on our third day of hiking the Abel Tasman Coastal Track I caught sight of this one up in a tree overlooking a cliff down to the ocean. The more pictures I snapped the closer the curious little guy came. I don’t know if he was looking for food or was just fascinated with his reflection in my lens. He was still leery and moved quickly from branch to branch so almost all of the images were a little blurry. In fact, this is a composite image. The tail section is from an image where his face looked more demon than bird and the head section is from an image where he had collapsed his famous fan down to a streamline tail. The two images make for one great image if I do say so myself.