The New Zealand wrens are a family of tiny passerines endemic to New Zealand. They were represented by six known species in four or five genera, although only two species survive in two genera today, they are understood to form a distinct lineage within the passerines, but authorities differ on their assignment to the oscines or suboscines. More recent studies suggest that they form a third, most ancient, suborder Acanthisitti and have no living close relatives at all, they are called "wrens" due to similarities in appearance and behaviour to the true wrens, but are not members of that family. New Zealand wrens are insectivorous foragers of New Zealand's forests, with one species, the New Zealand rock wren, being restricted to alpine areas. Both the remaining species are poor fliers and four of the five extinct species are known to be, or are suspected of having been, flightless. Of the species for which the plumage is known, they are drab-coloured birds with brown-green plumage, they form monogamous pair bonds to raise their young, laying their eggs in small nests in trees or amongst rocks.
They are diurnal and like all New Zealand passerines, for the most part, are sedentary. New Zealand wrens, like many New Zealand birds, suffered several extinctions after the arrival of humans in New Zealand. Two species became extinct after the arrival of the Māori and the Polynesian rat and are known today only from fossil remains; this species and the bushwren became extinct after the arrival of Europeans, with the bushwren surviving until 1972. Of the two remaining species, the rifleman is still common in both the North and South Islands, while the New Zealand rock wren is restricted to the alpine areas of the South Island and is considered vulnerable; the taxonomy of the New Zealand wrens has been a subject of considerable debate since their discovery, although they have long been known to be an unusual family. In the 1880s, Forbes assigned the New Zealand wrens to the suboscines related to the cotingas and the pittas, they were thought to be closer to the ovenbirds and antbirds. Sibley's 1970 study comparing egg-white proteins moved them to the oscines, but studies, including the 1982 DNA-DNA hybridization study, suggested the family was a sister taxon to the suboscines and the oscines.
This theory has proven most robust since and the New Zealand wrens might be the survivors of a lineage of passerines, isolated when New Zealand broke away from Gondwana 82–85 million years ago, though a pre-Paleogene origin of passerines is disputed and tends to be rejected in more recent studies. As no evidence indicates passerines were flightless when they arrived on New Zealand, they are not required by present theories to have been distinct in the Mesozoic; as unequivocal Passeriformes are known from Australia some 55 Mya, the acanthisittids' ancestors arrived in the Late Paleocene from Australia or the then-temperate Antarctic coasts. Plate tectonics indicate that the shortest distance between New Zealand and those two continents was 1,500 km at that time. New Zealand's minimum distance from Australia is a bit more today – some 1,700 km/1,100 miles - whereas it is now at least 2,500 km from Antarctica; the extant species are related and thought to be descendants of birds that survived a genetic bottleneck caused by the marine transgression during the Oligocene, when most of New Zealand was under water.
The earliest known fossil is Kuiornis indicator from the Miocene Saint Bathans Fauna. The relationships between the genera and species are poorly understood; the extant genus Acanthisitta has one species, the rifleman and the other surviving genus, includes the New Zealand rock wren and the extinct bushwren. Some authorities have retained Lyall's wren in Xenicus as well, but it is afforded its own monotypic genus, Traversia; the stout-legged wren was split into two species, but more recent research disputes this. The final genus was Dendroscansor, which had the long-billed wren. Genus Acanthisitta Rifleman: Acanthisitta chloris Genus Xenicus †Bushwren, Xenicus longipes New Zealand rock wren or South Island wren, Xenicus gilviventris Genus Traversia †Lyall's wren or Stephens Island wren, Traversia lyalli Genus Pachyplichas †Stout-legged wren or Yaldwin's wren, Pachyplichas yaldwyni †Pachyplichas jagmi Genus Dendroscansor †Long-billed wren, Dendroscansor decurvirostris Genus Kuiornis †Kuiornis indicator New Zealand wrens are tiny birds.
Their length ranges from 7 to 10 cm and their weight from as little as 5–7 g for the rifleman to an estimated 50 g for the extinct stout-legged wren. The New Zealand rock wren weighs between 14 and 22 g and the extinct long-billed wren weighed around 30 g; the plumage of the New Zealand wrens is only known for the four species seen by European scientists. All these species have dull green and brown plumage and all except Lyall's wren have a prominent supercilium above the eye; the plumage of males and females were alike in the bushwren.
"No Son of Mine" is a song by British rock group Genesis, released as the lead single from their 1991 album, We Can't Dance. It reached No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was a top-ten hit in several European countries and peaked atop Canada's RPM Top Singles chart for five weeks; the song's lyrics tell the story of a boy who runs away from his abusive home, and—after some reconsideration—attempts to return, only to be rebuked by his father. In interviews, Phil Collins has said that the lyrics are deliberately vague as to whether the narrator or his mother is the victim of the abuse; the song has a distinctive sound heard before the second verse. Referred to by the band as "elephantus," the sound was created by Tony Banks recording Mike Rutherford's guitar with a sampler and playing three notes on the bottom register of the keyboard lowering the pitch; the working title of "No Son of Mine" was "Elephantus". The sound is featured in the opening of the "I Can't Dance" single B-side "On the Shoreline".
A similar sound is heard in former Genesis member Peter Gabriel's song "I Grieve", released a few years on the soundtrack to City of Angels. The single included; the radio edit fades out the song's extended outro a minute in advance and deletes part of the second chorus. The music video makes use of the complete album version; the video for this song is melancholic, illustrating the scene in sepia tone. The video depicts what is discussed in the song, a conversation between a son and his father. During the last chorus, snowflakes begin appearing flying around the house; the song was played live during the tours of The Way We Walk, Calling All Stations, Turn It On Again. A live version appears on the albums The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts, Live Over Europe 2007, as well as on their DVDs The Way We Walk - Live in Concert and When in Rome 2007. Former one-time lead singer Ray Wilson continued to cover the song on his solo live albums after his departure from Genesis. Phil Collins – drums and backing vocals Tony Banks – keyboards Mike Rutherford – lead and bass guitars Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics