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September 24th, 2013
The Mimic and the Coward

I think I’ve mentioned Mr. Munro has a new camera. He took these great photos of a tui, one of New Zealand’s native birds. The tui is very cool and is unusual as far as native birds are concerned because it has adapted to the changes in habitat and flourished. It’s not strange to see them flying around city parks or the local neighborhood, especially if there are trees full of blossoms. They feed on nectar and we’ve seen a lot lately, feeding on the spring blossoms.

The tui is a mimic, and they’ve been known to bark like dogs, copy musical instruments such as bagpipes. They have a whole rang of clicks and warbles and whistles. A tui that hangs out in my street has a different “vocabulary” to tuis that might live five miles away.

Tui

Tui

Tui

tui

The tui has a distinctive tuft of white feathers at its throat. Maori legend says that this tuft signifies the mark of a coward. The Maori god Tanemahuta asked one of the birds to go to live on the forest floor to take care of the pests. The bird that volunteered would lose his colorful plumage and his ability to fly. The tui and the other birds who declined all received a punishment. The tui received the white feathers. And the bird that volunteered to live on the forest floor – that was the kiwi, of course.

Are you a bird watcher?

7 comments to “The Mimic and the Coward”

  1. Whoa, cool! He got some great pics!


  2. The zoom is pretty amazing on this camera.


  3. Those are such great pics. Wow, Mr Munro did a great job taking these pictures.

    The only birds around here…are pigeons. lol


  4. LOL about the pigeons. We have some of those too.


  5. The gods can be pretty harsh can’t they?
    Kudos to Mr. Munro. Great pics!


  6. The gods are certainly mean in most myths and legends.


  7. Great photos. Looks and sounds like a very interesting bird.