maandag 14 januari 2013

Tui & Kea (birds)

Kea are a unique and endangered parrot (psittacine) species endemic to the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Kea are highly adaptive and are considered by scientists to be one of the most intelligent bird species in the world.

Kea are also the only alpine parrot species and now number an estimated 1000-5000 individuals in the wild (Anderson, 1986). Numbers of Kea were substantially reduced with the introduction of a bounty which resulted in over 150,000 birds being culled as late as the 1970’s (Temple, 1978).

Kea are now listed as a nationally endangered species and the status of the wild kea population remains unclear.

Kea (Nestor notabilis), along with the kaka (Nestor meridionalis) and kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), are thought to together form the sole members of a distinct parrot family, Nestoridae, within the avian order Psittaciformes [parrots and cockatoos].  It seems likely that the Nestoridae lineage diverged from that of other parrots some 80 million years ago, perhaps as a result of geographical isolation associated with the separation of 'Zealandia' (the precursor to New Zealand) from Gondwanaland (Christidis & Boles, 2008).

Its species name Nestor is from Greek mythology. Nestor was said to be a wise old counselor to the Greeks at Troy. Notabilis (latin), means, ‘that worthy of note’. Maori gave the name kea, describing the sound of its call. Kea were considered guardians of the mountains for the Waitaha Maori during their search for Pounamu (greenstone).

The habitat of the kea extends from South Island beech forests to alpine meadows and mountain scree slopes. This environment is extensive, extremely harsh and variable and the kea has evolved to cope with the associated survival pressures this environment presents. [source:]

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.
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.
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. [source:]

Thank you very much Heather!

3 opmerkingen:

  1. love these! i am even thinking of collecting bird postcards :)

    1. You really should! I've had much joy receiving bird postcards in the past and definitely welcome more, especially when you get to know species you've never heard of.

  2. yea, i feel like that about all the animal postcards! and ever since i watched sir david attengorough's docomentary on birds i have been amazed by these creatures :)