Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Will the kiwi be dethroned?

As (almost) everyone knows, the kiwi is New Zealand's national symbol, although some wonder whether a cute but flightless bird that pokes around in the dark is really the ideal symbolism. The question is discussed on this Forest and Bird Society blog.
Being nocturnal and endangered, it is a bird that very few people actually see in the wild.

Next in the ranking if the kiwi was dethroned, and definitely a bird that is thriving, is the tui. This beautiful dark green-black forest bird utters quite a range of calls which immitate sounds it hears, some say even telephones and radio jingles. It has a distinctive tuft of white throat feathers and a pattern of thin white 'lace' around its neck. It can be aggressive towards other birds, including other tuis, near its food sources. As a brand name the tui adornes beer, fertilizer and campervans. In our Kapiti property we see up to 10 tuis on our puriri and kowhai trees, but even in our Wellington property we usually see one or two.

Another lovely bird, which is Bob Jones' pick, is the kereru, the native wood pigeon (top photo). This is a large bird, and feeds on native berries. It does not seem to utter a call. In our Kapiti property we often see one or two sitting high on the trees.

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