Sixteen Interesting Tui Facts


  • Tui ( prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) are endemic “native and unique” to New Zealand. They are found on the three main islands and belong to the honey eater family.
  • Tui are a fully protected in New Zealand.
  • The name Tui is derived from the Maori language with the plural being simply tui.
  • Europeans who first colonised New Zealand called it the Parson Bird due to the tufts of white feathers on its neck that resembled a parson’s clerical collar.
  • Tui contribute a valuable role in the pollination of many native plants and trees.
  • Courtship takes place between September and October and the breeding season runs from November to January with the laying of three to four eggs.
  • The female constructs the nest from twigs, grasses and moss.
  • A tui’s diet is mostly made up of nectar fruit and insects.
  • Some favoured food are native kowhai, puriri, kahikatea, new zealand flax, kaka beak, rewa rewa, rata, pohutukawa and other introduced trees such as strawberry tree, banksia, flowering cherries and bottle-brushes.
  • Male tui can be very aggressive and will chase other birds including the much larger native wood pigeon or kereru , bellbirds, stitchbirds, other tui and silver-eyes.
  • Tui are often seen on their own, in pairs or small groups. Large numbers will congregate around a plentiful food source.
  • Tui have a reputation for being raucous and noisy as well as having a very unusual and distinctive call. Some notes are so high that they are not audible to the human ear whilst others are made up of whistles, groans, crackles, creaks, chuckles, chortles and wheezing to name but a few.
  • Possessing two voice boxes means the tui can perform a wide array of vocalizations and have been known to mimic human speech.
  • From the time of European settlement tui numbers decreased mainly due to the destruction of their habitat however in more recent times their numbers have increased and they are now considered secure.
  • Today the main threats to the eggs and young of tui are other birds such as mynas and hawks, possums, feral cats, rats and stoats.
  • Because the tui is much adored and admired many New Zealanders place food and sugared mix in their gardens to provide a back stop during the winter months.

You can check out the call of the tui here ….

5 Responses

  1. Gary
    Gary |

    Great article Rodney.

    Another reason why people should help the tuis by controlling pests such as mynas and possums on their properties.

    Since we have been helping them, the numbers have bounced back in our area.

    See ya…Gary

  2. Shania Leggett
    Shania Leggett |

    Thanks for the help i am doing a study on them and it really helped

  3. ange
    ange |

    where do tuis go to rest????

  4. Isabella
    Isabella |

    Where was the first Tūī found

  5. Jimmie
    Jimmie |

    Hiya Rodney!
    Great artical I must say!
    Also what a surprise to see that Gary enjoys this website too!

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