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Kea – May

The curious kea is the only alpine parrot on the world.  The playful, inquisitive birds are well known for pecking at vehicles, sometimes causing damage. They are found only in the high altitude forests and alpine areas in the South Island. You will often hear them before you see them, with their screeching call of ‘keeeeeaaaa’. They have been known to attack sick sheep at night, but are generally found in their own habitat, feeding on alpine vegetation.

Between two and four eggs are laid each year, in nests situated in spacing’s between rocks, or under tree roots. Once chicks are old enough to take to the skies, you can recognise them in flight by the beautiful, bright orange plumage underneath their wings.

You can always have a kea in your garden with a Blazen.Metal kea bang’n bird – choose from traditional, koru or insect inlay, in either perching or landing. 25% off for the month of May.

Bibliography

Moon, G. (2002). A Photographic Guide to Birds of New Zealand. Auckland: New Holland Publishers.

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Kokako – April

New Zealand was once home to both the North and South Island kokako, easily distinguished by their differing wattle colours; orange in the South Island species and blue in the North. The South Island kokako currently has a conservation status of ‘data deficient’, moving from previously being thought to be extinct, as an accepted sighting was made in 2007 near Reefton (with the last accepted sighting in 1967).

The kokako are known for their haunting melodies – a unique addition to the dawn chorus. Their population has declined due to mammalian predation, and competition for food, particularly by possums. They still survive in sanctuaries and pest management areas, and small numbers in the wild in North Island forests.

Kokako feed mainly on a variety of fruit and leaves. They will however take spiders and insects in the summer, and when they are feeding chicks. When food is plentiful, this can occur twice a year, with two to three chicks hatching per brood.

No matter which island you are in, you can always have a kokako in your garden with a Blazen.Metal kokako bang’n bird – choose from traditional, koru or fern inlay. 25% off for the month of April.

Bibliography

Dawson, J., & Lucas, R. (2000). Nature Guide to the New Zealand Forest. Auckland: Random House.

Moon, G. (2002). A Photographic Guide to Birds of New Zealand. Auckland: New Holland Publishers.

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Kereru – March

New Zealand’s only endemic pigeon, the kereru, with its distinctive wingbeats, is a keystone species in New Zealand forests – crucial to the dispersal of many native plant seeds. Strictly vegetarian, they love to gorge on ripe fruit, but they will also strip plants of their leaves, buds and flowers.

The birds are widely distributed in forest habitats, but often seen in open country, and built-up areas, feeding on flowers and fruits. At times, they can be seen in large feeding flocks of 20-50 birds. Kereru have been known to breed in all months of the year, however generally breeding occurs from September to April when there is good food availability.

You can always have a kereru in your garden with a Blazen.Metal kereru bang’n bird – choose from traditional, koru or kowhai inlay. 25% off for the month of March.

Bibliography

Dawson, J., & Lucas, R. (2000). Nature Guide to the New Zealand Forest. Auckland: Random House.

Moon, G. (2002). A Photographic Guide to Birds of New Zealand. Auckland: New Holland Publishers.

Powlesland, R.G. 2013. New Zealand pigeon. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online.www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

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Tui – February

The boisterous tui are the largest and best known of New Zealand’s honeyeaters. They have distinctive white throat tufts, whirring flight sounds, and tuneful melodies intermixed with coughs, groans and rasps. They are widespread across New Zealand, and often seen in flax bushes, feeding on the nectar of the flowers.

They play an important role in pollinating flowers of not only the flax, but trees such as the mistletoe, puriri and pohutukawa, as well as dispersing podocarp seeds. When nectar is unavailable, their diet also consists of the fruits of native trees, and is supplemented by insects in the breeding season.

Tui are territorial birds, and will defend their feeding and breeding territories – energetically chasing other birds away. In breeding season, 2-4 eggs are laid, and cared for mainly by the female, with males only help to feed the chicks once they are older.

You can always have a tui in your garden with a Blazen.Metal tui bang’n bird – choose from traditional, koru or pohutukawa inlay. 25% off for the month of February.

Bibliography

Dawson, J., & Lucas, R. (2000). Nature Guide to the New Zealand Forest. Auckland: Random House.

Moon, G. (2002). A Photographic Guide to Birds of New Zealand. Auckland: New Holland Publishers.

Robertson, H.A. 2013. Tui. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

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Fantail – January

The fantail or piwakawaka is a much-loved bird, as they frequent gardens across the country, flitting about with their large fan-like tails. The ‘flitting’ of the fantail is related to a hunting tactic called hawking, where insects are caught on the wing. Fantails use their tail to stop in mid-air and then dart in a different direction. This means fantails often come across as friendly, however they are generally just feeding on insects we have disturbed.

During mating season, they form territorial pairs, but can be seen in flocks in the winter months, catching insects together.

The most common fantail is the pied fantail with a cinnamon breast and belly, and a brown back, however the fantail also comes in a black colour morph. Black fantails are rare in the North Island, and make up less than 5% of the South Island population.

Fantails are good at utilizing a wide range of habitats, hence their widespread and common nature.

You can always have a fantail in your garden with a Blazen.Metal fantail bang’n bird – choose from fanned or perching, both available in traditional, koru or insect inlay. 25% off for the month of January.

Bibliography

Dawson, J., & Lucas, R. (2000). Nature Guide to the New Zealand Forest. Auckland: Random House.

Moon, G. (2002). A Photographic Guide to Birds of New Zealand. Auckland: New Holland Publishers.

Powlesland, R.G. 2013 [updated 2017]. New Zealand fantail. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Onlinewww.nzbirdsonline.org.nz