By far one of my favourite birds from our fair shores is the Tui. I just love their boisterous raucous personalities, the way they dart at ridiculous kamikaze speeds through the branches, how they all flock to a favourite tree of choice and ransack it within days, or hours. Their antics make me smile. And of course, their magnificent song. Just so beautiful and interesting... the myriad of clicks and chortles - there's nothing like the chorus of Tui first thing in the morning. And how about the way they look? Stunners! We're very lucky to be surrounded by these lovely creatures and have a big sky vista so if we don't see hoards of them gathering in some of their favourite trees around our place, we see them darting through the sky - either alone or in large 'packs' like a group of teenagers up to no good.
We're all familiar with iconic images of Tui amongst Flax and Kowhai trees.
Some interesting facts...
Tūī are unique (endemic) to New Zealand and belong to the honeyeater family, which means they feed mainly on nectar from flowers of native plants such as kōwhai, puriri, rewarewa, kahikatea, pohutukawa, rātā and flax. Occasionally they will eat insects too. Tūī are important pollinators of many native trees and will fly large distances, especially during winter for their favourite foods.
Tūī will live where there is a balance of ground cover, shrubs and trees. Tūī are quite aggressive, and will chase other tūī and other species (such as bellbird, silvereye and kereru) away from good food sources.
An ambassador for successful rejuvenation. A good sign of a successful restoration programme, in areas of New Zealand, is the sound of the tūī warbling in surrounding shrubs. These clever birds are often confusing to the human ear as they mimic sounds such as the calls of the bellbird. They combine bell-like notes with harsh clicks, barks, cackles and wheezes.
Breeding facts. Courting takes place between September and October when they sing high up in the trees in the early morning and late afternoon. Display dives, where the bird will fly up in a sweeping arch and then dive at speed almost vertically, are also associated with breeding. Only females build nests, which are constructed from twigs, fine grasses and moss.
Where can tūī be found? The tūī can be found throughout the three main islands of New Zealand. The Chatham Islands have their own subspecies of tūī that differs from the mainland variety mostly in being larger.
Here's a really interesting and enjoyable interview with Simon Morton from Radio NZ and a Tui expert.
Thanks to DOC for the above info :)