The Tui – A bird of many colours

The nectar eating Tui with its white tuft of throat feathers is an endemic New Zealand bird primarily found in forested areas, but can also be found in quiet rural and urban localities that have numerous trees providing protection and food.

Seen from a distance Tui appear to have almost black plumage but their colourful attire becomes more evident when viewed at closer range and the iridescent  feathers on the head, breast and wings seem to change colour as the bird moves.

Probably New Zealands most aggressive bird the Tui will chase and harass other birds, large and small, especially when occupying a favourite food tree or shrub. Plant species that are attractive to Tui as food sources are the native Kowhai, Flax, Kaka beak and the introduced Banksia, flowering cherries and bottle-brushes.

Having 2 voice boxes gives Tui an extensive range of vocalisations and most birds develop their own individual style of singing, that at times is inaudible to the human ear. They have the ability to mimic sounds and some birds have been known to imitate human speech, much like parrots.

More photos of Tui can be viewed here

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