Early accounts of Little Barrier Island by Andreas Reischek emphasise that the Stitchbird (Notiomystis cincta
) was very rare there in the 1880s. Re-examination of the original accounts, in conjunction with dated specimens, suggests that the Stitchbird was in fact very rare in 1880 and 1882 but increased markedly in 1883 and 1885. The rarity of the species on Little Barrier in 1880 and 1882 coincided with its extinction on the mainland and may have been due to introduced disease. However, several fluctuations in population size have taken place since. At least 78 and up to 130 of the 181 extant 19th-century specimens were taken by Reischek.