Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KŌKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

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


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.