2020 Photo competition now open

Date posted: 15-Jan-2020

This year's photo competition is now open for entries. Please click here (/m..

AGM 2019

Date posted: 09-Sep-2019

Our Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30 pm on Monday 23rd September at the F..

More plaudits for Tiritiri Matangi

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

Recognition of the wonderful experience visitors have when visiting the Island h..

Results of the 2019 Photo Competition

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

The results of this year's competition have now been decided. Click here (/2019-photo-co..

Lighthouse Open Day

Date posted: 30-Apr-2019

Our historic lighthouse, signal station and diaphonic foghorn will all be on dis..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..


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.