Saturday, June 26, 2010
One of our endemic Honeyeaters, the Tui was once widespread across most of New Zealand, and is still common in some regions. These birds are excellent mimics and have elaborate, musical songs intermingled with cellphone rings, house alarms and other such noises. Some have even mastered human speak (those in captivity) and also can wolf whistle. In the Bay of Islands, specifically Russell, one cannot speak for the birdsongs surrounding them. Here in Canterbury, however, the trees are silent. Their relatives, the bellbirds, have a similar song but they delve less into the mimicry and more into the musical. The english name for the Tui is the Parson bird, because of the white bobble under its throat. This is most apparent in breeding season.