Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..


Scientific name:

 Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae



Conservation status:

 Endemic. Not threatened

Mainland status:

 Common throughout NZ

Size:  30cm, 120g (males), 90g (females)


 Oldest recorded 12+ Years


 September - January


 Mainly nectar and fruit, some invertebrates

Status on Tiritiri Matangi:  Abundant

The tūī is a member of the honeyeater family, and as such has a curved bill and a long tongue, frayed at the end like a brush, which is used to reach deep into flowers and drink nectar. Like the other New Zealand honeyeater, the bellbird, they feed on a mixture of nectar, fruit, and insects. 

Tūī are the dominant honeyeater in New Zealand, being aggressive and pugnacious, which accounts for their successful survival on the mainland throughout NZ. They vigorously chase other tūī and other species from their feeding and breeding territories, which they strongly defend. They are often seen diving vertically at great speed when chasing birds.

The tūī is a dark coloured bird, almost black at first glance, but is in fact an iridescent green with a reddish brown back. It has two white throat tufts forming a bib under its chin. The neck has a lacy white collar of very fine white feathers.

The tūī has a very noisy whirring flight which is very fast, swooping and undulating. It controls the sound of its flight using a notch on one of its primary feathers. It has a variety of calls, consisting of rich, fluid, melodious notes intermixed with croaks, coughs, clicks, grunts, wheezes, squeaks, buzzes and chuckles. They are often heard to mimic other species.

Tūī have always existed on Tiritiri Matangi and the population continues to grow every year. Many of them form loose flocks in the winter and fly to winter feeding sites, sometimes as far as 20 kms away, returning in the summer. They quickly take over any flowering tree, especially kōwhai, five-finger or rewarewa, keeping other birds away if they can. Visitors to the Island are given excellent views of tūī competing for position at the sugar feeder at the Visitor Centre.

Find out more about tūī at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Peter Craw © (Tui on mānuka - top right), Max McRae © (Tui on flax, bottom left)

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking.