West Coast Birdlife – The Tui

West Coast Birdlife – The Tui

by | Aug 7, 2015

tui

You may have enjoyed a Tui beer in your visit to NZ, but here’s some information on the unique bird which this tasty beverage is named after …

Tui’s are a beautiful native bird, both it’s colors and it’s song are delightful and can be enjoyed all throughout New Zealand’s North and South Island!  Tui are extremely common on the West Coast of the South Island.  Their extraordinary song can be heard echoing all throughout Lake Mapourika and is the most distinct bird song in our temperate rain-forests.

Upon first glance the bird appears to be black and white.  Although as seen in the photo above that tui have brown feathers on the back and a multi-colored sheen that varies with the angle from which the light strikes them.

And of course the Tui have distinct white feathers on their throat, these are the feathers which had earned them their original European name: The Parson Bird.

 

Fun Facts about the Tui:

 

  • Tui are considered to be extremely intelligent, much like the Kea we learnt about a couple of weeks ago.

 

  • They are able to imitate human speech, and also other birds from the forest.  Tui are often heard mimicking NZ’s Bellbird.

 

  • Tui are able to make a variety of odd noises such as clicks, cackles, timber-like creaks and groans, and wheezing sounds.

 

  • The ability to create these sounds is due to the double voice box they have located under each white feather.

 

  • Tui also enjoy singing at night – especially when there’s a FULL MOON!

 

  • Their favorite food is nectar.  In fact they are the predominant spreader of Flax and Kowhai.

 

  • Their beaks have evolved in the same shape as flax flowers, to facilitate easy access to the delicious nectar.  This a perfect example of symbiotic evolution between the Tui bird and the common NZ flax.

 

Of course we also can’t forget to mention my Tui, the Kayak Team mascot:

tui 2

We hope to see you out on the Lake this spring when all the Native Bush birds are coming out to play!