Posted by: Vallere | April 8, 2011

Friday’s Flipside Five – Birds!

Today I thought I would share five birds that I have learned about since I’ve been in New Zealand that I never knew existed prior to my arrival. Some I’ve seen in person, others I can’t wait to meet during our stay here. This will be the first post with pictures I didn’t take myself…none of these are mine, and I’ll credit the photographers for each of them.

1) Pukeko (pronounced POO-keh-koh)

These neat birds live near water and wade along the banks of places such as Virginia Lake, right here in Wanganui. I’ve seen these up close and personal, and they are REALLY neat looking! They nest on the ground (a lot of native birds do, as, before humans arrived, there were no native mammals other than bats, so ground nests would have been quite safe.) They are also the main character of a number of children’s books here – sometimes as heroins, and other times as cheeky trouble makers!

2) Kea (Pronounced KEE-ah)

This is a parrot that lives in the alpine (yes, I said alpine) forests on the South Island. This is an interesting bird to me, because I would have never thought of a parrot eating meat! But, these guys do…and not just carrion, either (though they will). I’m talking live pray. And their food of choice is sheep! Yep, this sweet looking parrot will attack sheep and eat them alive. Because of this, farmers nearly hunted them to extinction. They are also clowns, with little fear of humans, and will commonly approach skiers to steal their food, peck at their clothes or rip the rubber bits off their cars!

3) Takahe (pronounced TAH-kah-hey)

This bird is a relative of the Pukeko, but with some major differences. Firstly, it’s flightless. Secondly, it’s amazingly rare. So rare that they thought it was extinct until a few were rediscovered. There are about 250 of these birds in existance. *insert big frowny face here*

4) Ruru or Morepork

Ruru is the Maori name for this tiny owl. Those of you who have read the Diskworld books will easily recognise (and then snicker at) its English name. These are cute little guys who eat small mammals and insects, including weta (which, by the way, Bear Grylls say are THE most disgusting thing he’s ever eaten).

5) Tui (pronounced TOO-ee)

The tui is included because of its wide use as the spokesperson and namesake of Tui beer – made right here in New Zealand. This is another one I haven’t seen in person, but certainly hope to. They are dark colored birds with a signature pair of white feathers under its neck. Very pretty!

And, according to The Doc, a pretty good beer.

Join us next week for Volume 5!



  1. he he he it’s a Morpork he he he he he I love NZ

  2. Tui is a yummy beer. I know this thanks to the Doc!

  3. How fun! You’re learning so much. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us. 🙂

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