In the South Island Tui are most likely to be found in gardens in the Tasman regions. Their number will even increase if they are fed regurlarly like we do in our garden. It is one of the largest members of the diverse honeyeater family and most definitely they have a 'sweet tooth'. They are waiting impatiently every morning for their daily treat. Very nice to see and an experience we are keen to share with our guests.
At first glance the bird appears completely black except for a small tuft of white feathers at its neck and a small white wing patch, causing it to resemble an honourable judge at the highcourt in full attire. On closer inspection (as the images prove) it can be seen that tui have brown feathers on the back and flanks, a multicoloured iridescent sheen that varies with the angle from which the light strikes them, and a dusting of small, white-shafted feathers on the back and sides of the neck that produce a lacy collar. They are usually very vocal, with a complicated mix of tuneful notes interspersed with coughs, grunts and wheezes. In flight, their bodies slant with the head higher than the tail, and their noisy whirring flight is interspersed with short glides.
A truly amazing representative of New Zealands fauna, recently voted 'New Zealand's favourite garden bird'.