Tui in New Zealand

The Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) is an endemic New Zealand bird. It belongs to the honeyeater family. Its name is derived from the Maori language. In earlier times, the English settlers called it the parson bird, because of its dark plumage with white neck feathers.

Tui

The Tui photographed here is from a farm stay at Matamata district, in the North Island in December 2013. It is interesting to note that its feathers has a metallic blue-green sheen to their underlying black colour that changes hue depending on the angle of light.

Tui

It is seen here with it’s favourite plant, the New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax). The curvature of the bird’s bill matches the shape of the flower of the flax plant, enabling easy feeding of the nectar. This is a good example of mutualistic coevolution.

Tui

The orange colour around the bird’s bill and forecrown is actually the pollen of the flax plant. So for the price of some sweet nectar, the Tui gladly acts as a pollinator of the plant.

Tui

Interestingly, sometimes the nectar ferments and as a result, Tuis can be seen flying drunk. Perhaps that’s why there is a brand of beer called Tui!

Tui

Advertisements

One thought on “Tui in New Zealand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s